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Novelis, Sortera Alloys form partnership

Novelis will use Sortera's scrap metal sorting technologies to increase recycled content in its automotive sheet products.

July 19, 2022

Atlanta-based aluminum producer Novelis Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with Sortera Alloys Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Sortera is a scrap metal sorting and recycling company that was spun out from the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) project in the U.S. Department of Energy, which seeks to advance high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. The company has developed and patented sorting technology that uses artificial intelligence- (AI-) based sensor sorters to upgrade shredded nonferrous scrap feedstock streams and remove unwanted contaminants.

Novelis says it will use Sortera's advanced sorting technologies, including data analytics and advanced sensors, to recycle and reuse more automotive postproduction and postconsumer scrap.

Using Sortera’s technology, Novelis says it will be able to effectively separate mixed automotive scrap into individual alloys and recycle them back into the same product, allowing the aluminum producer to meet original equipment makers' needs for performance, durability, safety and design.

"Our partnership with Sortera will allow Novelis to continue to increase the amount of recycled content in our automotive alloys and subsequently reduce our carbon footprint," says Derek Prichett, senior vice president, Corporate Development, at Novelis, in a news release about the partnership. "It also aligns with our goal of becoming a fully circular business, as we will be able to keep more automotive aluminum in our supply chain and redirect it back into the same products."

The partnership supports Novelis' sustainability goals to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2026 and to be carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner. Using recycled aluminum as input material requires approximately 5 percent of the energy used to make primary aluminum, thus avoiding approximately 95 percent of the carbon emissions associated with production, the company says.

Earlier this year, Novelis announced that it would invest $365 million in a highly advanced recycling center in Guthrie, Kentucky, that will be able to cast 240,000 tons of sheet ingot for its automotive customers per year. The company says the facility is expected to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 1 million tons annually and to add approximately 140 jobs.

Beatriz Landa, vice president of metal procurement and recycling for Novelis North America, told Recycling Today earlier this year that the investment to produce its own recycled-content automotive aluminum ingots will allow Novelis to become “more sustainable and more independent in the market.”

"We are thrilled to work with Novelis, the global leader in sustainable aluminum solutions," says Michael Siemer, CEO, Sortera Alloys. "Together with existing investors like Chrysalix and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and now Novelis, we are poised to disrupt the global aluminum recycling space while cutting global emissions and driving a more sustainable industry."

Sortera recently received $10 million in funding led by Assembly Ventures, with additional funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures and aluminum producer Novelis. In that announcement, Sortera referred to “a significant partnership with Novelis that will see Sortera deliver high-quality, recycled alloy derived from automotive scrap to Novelis.” However, Sortera declined to comment further on the partnership at that time, indicating that a separate announcement would be made.

Recycling Today has reached out to Novelis and Sortera for more information on the partnership.