Middle East Conferences: End of the road

As driving becomes a way of life in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, so does the handling of end-of-life vehicles.

March 14, 2014
Recycling Today Staff

The nations comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) include several with living standards that have risen sharply in the past 30 years, resulting in a far greater number of cars and trucks on the road. At an End-of-Life Vehicle Workshop held in conjunction with the 2014 Middle East Metals Recycling Conference, attendees heard from presenters who are helping to handle the growing number of salvaged and scrapped vehicles.

Speaker Subhash Joshi of Frost & Sullivan, Dubai, said the number of vehicles on the road in the GCC has grown from 7.8 million in 2007 to 12.9 million in 2013 and is expected to leap to 19.4 million in 2020.

By 2020, Frost & Sullivan estimates that there will be 1.7 end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) generated annually in the GCC, with an estimated 77 percent of those emanating from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While this will present an opportunity for recyclers and those in the auto salvage business, Joshi also said there is a lucrative export trade of old vehicles to Nigeria. He added though, that should anti-vehicle export regulations be introduced, it would “create a business model for recyclers.”

Two representatives from the Dubai Municipality government gave an overview of that emirate’s program to take possession of abandoned vehicles and, if they go unclaimed, offer them through a bid system to recyclers.

Once in the possession of an auto salvage shop owner or recycler, ELVs require careful attention to fluids, batteries and other potential hazards, Andreas Rieser of Austria-based SEDA told attendees.

Rieser showed attendees video clips of unsafe and environmentally unsound ELV recycling practices from around the world. The clips included spilled fluids, ELVs bursting into flames and small explosions caused by ill-advised puncturing techniques.

“An ELV has up to 22 liters of fluids,” said Rieser. While these fluids can be hazardous and flammable, in most cases they also are recyclable if collected properly and directed toward re-refiners.

Rieser said if the Middle East is generating 11,000 ELVs each month, which is enough to yield 6,600 metric tons of metal, 114,000 liters of reusable gasoline and 78,000 liters of waste oil that can be re-refined. The highly recyclable metal items include catalytic converters, copper wire and cable and aluminum wheels.

Mike Taylor, who is based in the United Kingdom with JMC Recycling and Vortex Depollution and Recycling Equipment, said some vehicle makers are increasingly designing for easier recycling and also getting more involved in the auto recycling process.

He said the General Motors Range Rover division in the U.K. has a “sustainability team that signs off on the recyclability of each component.”

Nonetheless, said Taylor, in all parts of the world (including the Middle East) there are a number of factors affecting the way vehicles are salvaged and recycled, including market conditions, the value of materials and compliance costs. It amounts to a calculation of “capital investment for available technology and processes versus recovery revenue,” said Taylor.

Taylor offered attendees a look at several JMC and Vortex products that can help recyclers collect fluids, upgrade the value of their catalytic converters and process the wire harnesses and other wire and cable found in the ELV stream.

Salam Al Sharif and UAE-based Sharif International Metals have been operating auto shredders in Saudi Arabia and the UAE for several years. Sharif told attendees that previously, when ELVs were baled instead of shredded, “There was a lot of ambiguous contamination in those old bales.”

Sharif that after autos are dismantled and scoured for usable parts they are shredded, with the shredded ferrous and nonferrous pieces recovered. In terms of buying a shredder, Sharif said it is “a difficult decision” with factors including the size and weight of the machine and its rotor, the horsepower of the motor, the total cost, ongoing operating costs and the ability of the manufacturer to provide parts and service.

When researching a shredder, “Only plant visits and conversations with users of the equipment can really indicate what is taking place,” Sharif told ELV Workshop attendees.

Keegan Vas of Metso Recycling is among the manufacturers competing for the attention of recyclers like Sharif. Vas told attendees the average ELV consists of 70 percent iron and steel, 8 percent nonferrous metal, 9 percent plastics and3 percent glass.

Vas said the largest shredders can handle up to 1,000 vehicles per day. Shredders of all sizes produce a ferrous shredded scrap grade and typically a mixed “zorba” nonferrous grade that may consist of about 60 percent aluminum, 20 percent copper and 5 percent zinc.

Metso has recently reached terms with a scrap recycler in Saudi Arabia to install a 2,000 horsepower shredding plant in the city of Jeddah, Vas told attendees.

The 2014 Middle East Metals Recycling Conference and the End-of-Life-Vehicle Workshop were March 2-3 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.