Calaf Grup completes LIFE PST SORT project for the development of a waste recovery technology that will generate annual revenues of between 50 and 100 million euros for the European recycling sector

The project, carried out with PICVISA technology, required investment of over €1.5 million, with around 50% of this coming from European Commission funding. The implementation of this unique technology in Europe would enable the annual recovery of around one million tonnes of recoverable materials from end-of-life vehicles. The technology developed in the project enables a significantly increased material recovery rate of up to 70%. In addition to the automotive industry, this innovative technology can also be applied to other industrial or municipal waste recycling sectors. Within the framework of the project, a 1,000 m2 experimental and demonstration waste recovery plant has been built in Calaf (Barcelona).

Calaf Grup, a leading business group operating in the construction sector and in the development of optical sorting equipment for waste recovery, has completed the LIFE PST SORT project, an innovative initiative supported by the European LIFE Programme. The application of the technology developed by PICVISA, a company belonging to the group, would allow the annual recovery of nearly one million tonnes of recoverable waste from end-of-life vehicles in Europe alone. One of the main project objectives is to increase the recovery rate of recyclable materials from end-of-life vehicles, representing a major breakthrough in the automotive and recycling sector due to the associated environmental and economic benefits.

The new waste recovery and valorisation technology could generate between 50 and 100 million euros in annual revenues for the European recycling sector, with 13% of this corresponding to Spanish companies.

Within the framework of the project, an experimental plant was built in Calaf (Barcelona) to recover waste from end-of-life vehicles. This facility, has an approximate surface area of 1,000 m2 and is designed for industrial demonstration of the technology prior to implementation at recycling companies. The fully automated plant implements PICVISA machine vision technology and artificial intelligence to identify and extract recyclable materials, achieving recovery rates of up to 70%. The main materials recovered are plastics, metals, rubber, polyurethane foam, textiles, glass, paper & board, wood and electronic components.

Investment of over 1.5 million euros, with the support of the LIFE Programme

The LIFE PST SORT project, developed by Calaf Grup over a period of 3 years, required investment of 1.5 million euros, with almost 50% coming from European Commission funding. This ambitious project was selected in 2018 by the European Union’s LIFE Programme for the purpose of contributing to environmental protection and climate action, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Reduction of up to 4 kilograms in CO2 emissions per kilogram of treated waste

6 to 8 million end-of-life cars are generated in Europe per year, giving rise to 1.5 million tonnes of waste sent to landfill or incineration plants. The application of this innovative technology could result in a reduction in emissions of up to 4 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of waste treated, thus helping to solve one of the major environmental impact problems associated with the automotive industry.

In the course of the project, a payback period of between 2 and 7 years was demonstrated for recyclers opting to invest in this technology. The technological solution developed in the project will result in revenues ranging from €50 to €95 per tonne of waste treated, i.e., €10 to €25 per end-of-life vehicle.