Nissan invests £52m into closed-loop aluminium production at Sunderland facility

Nissan Sunderland plant

Closed-loop recycling contributes to Nissan goal of carbon neutrality by 2050

Nissan confirmed in May 2021 a new £52m investment into its Sunderland facility that will enable the use of recycled and lightweight aluminium for the production of Qashqai vehicles to reduce the energy required for material processing.

The all-new Qashqai will be Nissan’s first model built in Europe using a significant number of lightweight aluminium panels.

The hood, doors and front fenders are stamped from aluminium alloy, which makes the body of the all-new Qashqai 60 kg lighter. This improves efficiency and thereby contributes to reduced emissions. In addition, it helps accommodate more technology, including the all-new vehicle’s electrified powertrain.

Aluminium production at Nissan’s Sunderland plant includes the 2nd extra large press line that was launched last year and the cyclone – a recycling facility that blasts out scrap metal at 150 km an hour and can handle more than seven tons of metal an hour, ensuring less waste and a greener production process.

As hoods and doors are stamped into shape, scrap material is shredded and extracted, keeping aluminium grades separate. The separation ensures that Nissan can return high-quality scrap to suppliers for them to turn into aluminium alloy sheets.

This “closed-loop” recycling system reduces waste and CO2 emissions. This contributes to the goal Nissan has set itself of achieving carbon neutrality across the company’s operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050.

 

Nissan closed-loop recycling system

Recycling scrap aluminium saves more than 90% of the energy needed to create a comparable amount from raw materials.

Vice President Manufacturing Alan Johnson of Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, said: “We continue to look for ways to make both our vehicles and our manufacturing process more sustainable. The use of lightweight aluminium in the new Qashqai is a great example.”

The new Qashqai follows the new Rogue sold in North America as the second global model for Nissan to feature aluminium parts produced with the closed-loop recycling process. Nissan is considering expanding the application of this process to future models and other factories.

“We continue to improve the efficiency and sustainability of our manufacturing operations and Sunderland will play a key role in meeting the company’s commitment to carbon neutrality,” said Johnson.

Nissan Green Program 2022

Under the Nissan Green Program 2022, Nissan aims to replace 30% of the raw materials used in cars built in 2022 with materials that don’t rely on newly mined resources. To achieve this, the company will use recycled materials and develop biomaterials, carry out recycling activities both at suppliers and in-house, and seek to reduce the weight of car bodies.

Nissan will continue to promote efficient and sustainable use of resources, including the use of renewable resources and recyclable materials.

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