Aluminium smelter Constellium SE has teamed up with TARMAC Aerosave to develop new processes and technologies for recovering aluminium from decommissioned aircraft and reintegrate it in the aerospace value chain.
Constellium says the goal of the project is to show that a fully circular economy can be built and sustained in the aerospace industry. The firm plans to contribute its expertise in metallurgy, aluminium recycling, and alloy design, while TARMAC will offer its knowledge of end-of-life aircraft dismantling and valorization.
Noting that recycling aluminium requires only 5 percent of the energy needed for smelting new aluminium from bauxite ore, the CO2 offput for recycling aluminium is 95 percent below that of new primary aluminium production.
Sebastien Medan, Facility and EHS Director for TARMAC Aerosave, said in a press release that the project dovetails with what the company is currently working on.
“Dismantling of the aircraft, and re-use of components and materials are already part of our core business. This collaboration with Constellium encourages us to explore the valorization of the end-of-life airframes even further, and to expand our contribution towards the ambitious decarbonation targets set by the commercial aviation sector.”
Ingrid Joerg, President of Constellium’s Aerospace & Transportation business unit, noted the importance of recycling in the aerospace industry.
“Recycling is at the core of Constellium’s strategy. Returning aluminium from end-of-life metallic aircraft structures back into our process is critical to achieving full circularity for commercial aviation. Aircraft recycling currently faces many technical challenges, but every effort to decarbonize the aerospace industry is necessary. As a technology and market leader in aluminium solutions, Constellium is committed to play its part.”
Constellium, based in France, was founded 1855 as Henri Merle et Compagnie and subsequently renamed Pechiney in 1950. Pechiney was purchased by Alcan in 2003, which was purchased by Rio Tinto in 2007. In 2011 Rio Tinto sold Alcan Engineered Products to Apollo Management (51%) and FSI (10%). Constellium produces rolled and extruded aluminium products from various alloys, bringing in €6.2 billion of revenue in 2021.