AUSTRALIA The University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) SMaRT Centre has partnered with Jamestrong to develop an initiative to improve aluminium manufacturing and recycling in Australia.

The joint project is being funded by Jamestrong and UNSW, as part of the government’s Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) program.

According to UNSW SMaRT Centre, the collaboration will position Jamestrong as one of the world’s first aluminium aerosol can manufacturers to make aerosol cans from recycled content and waste that is presently not recycled due to the presence of mixed materials such as plastics.

The new ‘Green Aluminium partnership’, will involve the commercialization of the UNSW’s SMaRT Technology Centre’s advanced MICROfactorie recycling technology.

This technology will be integrated into Jamestrong’s can manufacturing process at its facility in Taree, New South Wales.

Under the initial phase of this joint effort, the two entities will work together to set up a new A$8 million (US$5.33m) aluminium casting line at the Taree facility.

Jamestrong CEO Alex Commins said: “The UNSW SMaRT Centre partnership will mean recycled aluminium will be introduced into Jamestrong’s aerosol can production process, and slugs produced on the new casting line will be used in the plant’s extrusion process to manufacture more than 100 million aerosol cans per year.”

The UNSW SMaRT Centre has not confirmed the exact implementation date of this project; however, work included under the initial phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2024.

Once this work is complete, the project partners will begin testing the new technologies, developed by SMaRT Centre’s microfactory, at the Jamestrong facility.

A real-time production environment will also be created to support the evaluation of the recycling processes.

Construction of the new casting line will involve the employment of 30 full-time equivalent staff while its operation phase will require the deployment of another 15 employees. Some technicians and scientists from the SMaRT Centre will also be deployed at the site.

UNSW SMaRT Centre’s director, Professor Veena Sahajwalla said: “Our Green Aluminium MICROfactorie technology can recover aluminium from a range of mixed waste feedstocks including waste packaging.

“The innovative recovery of the recycled aluminium will be incorporated directly into the manufacturing process producing slugs, with varying degrees of recycled content available depending on production requirements.”

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