Economic Viability of Extracting High Value Metals from End of Life Vehicles

Mona Arnold (Corresponding Author), Elina Pohjalainen, Sören Steger, Wolfgang Kaerger, Jan-henk Welink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
162 Downloads (Pure)


Electronics containing growing quantities of high value and critical metals are increasingly used in automobiles. The conventional treatment practice for end-of-life vehicles (ELV) is shredding after de-pollution and partial separation of spare parts. Despite opportunities for resource recovery, the selective separation of components containing relevant amounts of critical metals for the purpose of material recycling is not commonly implemented. This article is aimed to contribute to recycling strategies for future critical metal quantities and the role of extended material recovery from ELVs. The study examines the economic feasibility of dismantling electronic components from ELVs for high value metal recycling. The results illustrate the effects of factors as dismantling time, labour costs and logistics on the economic potential of resource recovery from ELVs. Manual dismantling is profitable for only a few components at the higher labour costs in western/northern parts of Europe and applicable material prices, including the inverter for hybrid vehicles, oxygen sensor, side assistant sensor, distance and near distance sensors. Depending on the vehicle model, labour costs and current material prices, manual dismantling can also be cost-efficient for also some other such as the heating blower, generator, starter, engine and transmission control, start/stop motor, drive control, infotainment and chassis control.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1902
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • end of life vehicle
  • metals recovery
  • WEEE
  • recycling


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