The University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) SMaRT Centre and Australian metal can manufacturer Jamestrong have collaborated to advance 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) programme.

The new ‘Green Aluminium partnership’, will involve the commercialisation 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$8m aluminium casting line at the Taree facility.

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.

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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 is able to 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.”

The latest partnership will further position Jamestrong as one of the first aluminium aerosol can manufacturers to produce its aerosol cans from recycled content, the UNSW SMaRT Centre noted.

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.”