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Economic and Environmental Aspects of Aircraft Recycling

Scheelhaase, Janina and Müller, Leon and Ennen, David and Grimme, Wolfgang (2022) Economic and Environmental Aspects of Aircraft Recycling. Transportation Research Procedia, 65, pp. 3-12. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.trpro.2022.11.002. ISSN 2352-1457.

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Aircraft recycling can be considered as an important step on the path to sustainable aviation, as valuable resources used in aircraft construction can be returned for use in a circular economy by these activities. Our results have shown that the market for aircraft recycling is emerging with great future relevance due to the increasing number of aircraft retirements expected in the future. The costs of recycling per aircraft vary by aircraft class and number of engines. The costs range from USD 109,000 for a twin-engine regional jet to USD 268,000 for a four-engine widebody jet. The costs for a twin-engine narrowbody jet lie in between at USD 138,000. In this paper, we investigated the economic efficiency of aircraft recycling expressed as the ratio of average dismantling and recycling costs per aircraft and engine in USD compared with the achieved environmental benefit in average tons recycled material or re-used parts. This ratio revealed that aircraft recycling leads to notable environmental benefits as a large share (60%) of the total structural weight is being re-used at given costs. The average economic efficiency is estimated at 1,666 USD/ton for a widebody aircraft, 3,531 USD/ton for a narrowbody jet and 6,693 USD per ton for a regional jet. In future, aircraft recycling will be facing a number of major challenges as the number of retired aircraft will increase and the share of composite material to be recycled will rise significantly in the medium and long term - for which material no satisfying technological recycling solution exists today. In addition, the environmental pressure from politics and society is expected to be increasing in future. Against this background, we recommend to effectively enforce ambitious recycling standards for retired aircraft on a global level. Furthermore, as recycling technologies for aircraft composite materials are not mature currently, significant R&D investments are needed for these technologies.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/191028/
Document Type:Article
Title:Economic and Environmental Aspects of Aircraft Recycling
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Grimme, WolfgangUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8498-6281UNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Transportation Research Procedia
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Page Range:pp. 3-12
Keywords:Flugzeugrecycling; Flugzeugrecyclingmarkt; Zukunft des Flugzeugrecyclings
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Transport System
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V VS - Verkehrssystem
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - Ökonver II
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research > Air Transport Economics
Deposited By: Scheelhaase, Janina
Deposited On:28 Nov 2022 15:14
Last Modified:23 Jun 2023 14:35

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