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© Süderelbe AG Sebastian Jaeger

More-Aero: Research Project Makes Mobile Plane Recycling Possible

Aircraft recycling yields valuable secondary raw materials

The day comes in the life of every aircraft when it is just too old to fly. For many, this means an “aircraft graveyard”, where they are scrapped and stripped. A new project is set to change the way things are done when an aircraft is retired. It’s called More-Aero. A network of northern German enterprises have developed and successfully tested an innovative mobile dismantling unit that allows an aircraft to be stripped down locally wherever it has been retired. The project has been funded by the the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

New business area

“The mobile unit allows us to enter a new business area for aircraft recycling in northern Germany, one step at a time,” explains Dr Juergen Glaser, General Manager of Suederelbe AG, the company that is leading the project. “Together with our partners, Keske Entsorgung GmbH, the Institute of Mineral and Waste Processing, Waste Disposal and Geomechanics at the Clausthal University of Technology, and STUTE Logistics, we are proud to have made this step.”

Creating a structure for aircraft recycling

Obsolete planes are typically dumped at “aircraft graveyards” or left abandoned on the edge of remote airfields and cannibalised for spare parts. But aircraft recycling actually offers vast potential for the recovery of valuable secondary raw materials. The complexity and the many composite materials used in modern aircraft, however, present significant challenges.

A systematic approach to recycling aircraft is effectively new territory. The long-term goal is therefore to establish complete value creation chains for aircraft recycling in Germany.


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