Worlds Largest Aluminium Recycling Plant Opened in Germany

Global aluminium rolling and recycling firm, Novelis, has officially opened a $258 million recycling centre, claimed to be the largest in the world, in Nachterstedt, Germany.

Recycling Waste to Energy Markets & Policy

Global aluminium rolling and recycling firm, Novelis, has officially opened a $258 million (€200 million) recycling centre, claimed to be the largest in the world, in Nachterstedt, Germany.

The company said that the new recycling centre will process up to 400,000 metric tonnes of aluminium scrap annually, turning it back into high-value aluminium ingots to feed the company's European manufacturing network.

According to Novelis, the Nachterstedt recycling facility features state-of-the-art technology for aluminium scrap sorting, de-coating, melting and casting, and gives it the flexibility to process a wide range of scrap types.

It said that this will help create a more efficient closed-loop recycling system and increasing Europe's domestic scrap consumption.

Since 2011, Novelis has invested around $500 million in expanding its recycling network, doubling its recycling capacity to 2.1 million tonnes per year and raising its recycled content from 30% to 46%. However, the company's goal is to achieve 80% recycled content by 2020. 

Recycling aluminium is said to save 95% of the energy and emissions associated with the production of primary metal.

"The Nachterstedt Recycling Center is a significant step toward our goal to be the world's low-carbon aluminium sheet producer, shifting our business model from a traditional linear approach to an increasingly closed-loop model," commented Phil Martens, president and chief executive officer of Novelis. 

"This strategy will enable us to accelerate and capitalise on the sustainability potential of aluminium as a lightweight, infinitely recyclable metal and to dramatically reduce the embedded carbon in our products," continued Martens.

"In an increasingly energy- and carbon-constrained environment, we are convinced it will be a key source of competitive advantage for our company – and for our customers," he concluded.

Location location location

The company explained that Nachterstedt's central location within Europe provides the plant with access to efficient transportation networks.

Aluminium ingots produced at Nachterstedt will be hot-rolled at Novelis' facilities in Norf, Germany, and Sierre, Switzerland, and then supplied to company operations across Europe for further processing. Finished coils of aluminium sheet will be delivered to customers primarily in the automotive and beverage can markets.

"To feed the facility, we are expanding and diversifying our scrap purchasing network to ensure the highest quality scrap is recycled back into the same product whenever possible, conserving more metal, reducing waste and using less energy than ever before,” explained Erwin Mayr, senior vice president at Novelis, and president of Novelis Europe.

"In developing the recycling and casting facility, we implemented best-in-class technologies to ensure that it meets the highest standards of operational efficiency and environmental excellence."

Dr. Reiner Haseloff, first minister of the State of Saxony-Anhalt commented: "I am particularly pleased that some 200 new jobs have been created as a result of these investments. Novelis joins the group of industrial companies which employ more than 1,000 people in Saxony-Anhalt.


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