IARC 2019

Published on 10 April 2019

Getting participants totally up to speed on developments in the car recycling industry, in just a few days’ time. For quite some time, this has been the aim of the IARC, the largest car recycling conference in the world. This year, the 19th edition was held in Vienna from 20 until 22 March. And, of course, the editors of Green Light were on hand to see it!


Tekst Jens Holierhoek

Fotografie ICM

Listening, catching up, taking part in discussions and networking: those are the ingredients of the annual IARC, in a nutshell. This year, the world’s largest car recycling conference was held in Vienna and was attended by over 200 policymakers, manufacturers, recyclers and interest groups from the sector.

They listened attentively to speakers such as Artemis Hatzi-Hull, who spoke on behalf of the European Commission and discussed the progress regarding the upcoming amendments to the ELV (End-of-Life Vehicle) directive. She explored which legislative amendments will impact the provisions of the ELV Directive and set out a timeline for the evaluation. Her talk addressed the criteria for the evaluation as well.

Urban mining
During his presentation, Charles Stuyck of Umicore wondered aloud how recycling might contribute to e-mobility. In light of the drastic growth in sales of electronic vehicles (EVs) in Europe, he explained, we will need to find a way to meet the enormous demand for lithium and cobalt. Stuyck demonstrated the importance of ‘urban mining’, in which the necessary materials are reclaimed from used mobile phones and EVs.

Battery remanufacturing
Another interesting presentation was given by Dirk Spiers. The Dutch-born Spiers has, in only a short period of time, established a reputation for himself in the US with Spiers New Technologies. His company repairs, retools and remanufactures battery packs from hybrid and electric vehicles. Spiers foresees a lucrative future for ‘battery remanufacturing’. He predicts the self-driving EVs of the near future will more or less operate around the clock. “Under those circumstances, a battery will only last three years, I’d say. That will radically change the industry.”

Were you unable to make it to the conference? Don’t worry — in the weeks ahead, Green Light will provide you with regular updates on IARC 2019, including interesting talks, interviews and presentations.

Closed-loop recycling
The Marriott Hotel in Vienna also welcomed the usual car manufacturers. Representatives from companies like Toyota and Honda were on hand as panel chairs, while Renault and Volvo sent delegates in the form of their respective sustainability managers. On behalf of the French, Jean-Denis Curt, head of circular manufacturing for Groupe Renault, gave a presentation on how his company is successfully investing in closed-loop recycling.

In his turn at the mic, Volvo’s Niklas Kilberg explained how the Swedish company intends to extensively incorporate recycled plastic into their cars. The goal is to have at least 25 per cent of the ‘new’ plastic be derived from recycled materials by 2025. But what kind of problems can you expect?

Country reports
The country reports are a standard part of each year’s conference. Olaf Pusch from TSR Recycling examined the challenges and opportunities facing End-of-Life Vehicle recyclers in Germany. The increasing use of plastics in cars is particularly concerning to the German metal recyclers, Pusch says.

Maximiliano Marques’ story was a real eye-opener: he talked about how the Argentinian car recycling industry is at risk due to an impenetrable web of regulations and inexplicable laws. “We have to throw a lot of things away, even though the parts are still good.” Dr Lakshmi Raghupathy also provided a sneak peek into the situation in India, which Green Light has written about in the past as well.

ARN at IARC 2019
As an interested participant and member of the steering group, ARN was naturally in attendance in Vienna. Looking back, steering group member Janet Kes views this year’s edition as a great success. “This is still your very best opportunity to talk to everyone who matters in the car recycling sector. With a little over 200 attendees, it’s a relatively compact group, but all the important players are present. What’s more, the 30-minute presentations and group discussions let you get up to speed on the latest developments.”

ARN director Ingrid Niessing agrees that the car recycling conference is a must-see event: “The entire chain is here, in one place. That’s what makes it so interesting. Everyone from European legislators to car manufacturers, and from specific trade associations to the car dismantling and shredding companies. You get a chance to hear every side’s perspective on the current developments. At the same time, it really brings home the fact that we must work together as an industry to find solutions for the future. The initial steps towards that shared future may very well be taken here.”

Twenty years of IARC
Next year, the world’s largest car recycling conference – the IARC – will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. The 2020 edition will once more be held in Geneva, where it all began.