Nandia is repurposing obsolete airplanes into EV parts

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The old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is truer than ever with a new Singaporean startup that specializes in targeted commercial jets for cheap electric vehicle components. Yes, I know that sounds a bit strange, but it’s exactly what Nandia REM is doing. The company spoke with Bloomberg and said it is developing a method to repurpose aviation-grade aluminum panels for electric vehicle battery castings.

There’s definitely a lot of room for growth here as more and more aircraft are retired in the next few years. The number of retired aircraft around the world is set to sore (I’m so sorry) to over 20,000 planes by the end of the decade. Nanndina tells Bloomberg that salvaging parts from obsolete jets could yield tens of millions of battery cases. The company is also apparently looking for ways to repurpose plastics and other materials that could be useful in cars.

Right now, efforts around the world are underway to recycle more of the critical materials needed for the EV supply chain in an effort to both control costs and, ya know, protect the environment a little bit.

Bloomberg spoke with Karina Cady, Nandia’s CEO, about what the company is doing. Here’s some of that conversation.

What are you trying to do?

We’re in the business of providing sustainable materials to industrial supply chains. And we do this through the craziest way: taking apart old aircraft, with a key focus of getting it into EVs.

We started to look at where does high-value aluminum exist? There’s currently some 8,000-plus retired aircraft all over the world. How do you have the world’s most highly engineered materials left in deserts like in Victorville, California.

What have you managed to do so far?

We completed our proof of concept on three Boeing 767s. Over 90% of those materials can be reused or reprocessed. This year, we’re scaling to 40 aircraft. This needs to be able to hit volumes that can actually get sufficient offtake agreements. But the demand and the support is there and it’s been full-on chasing planes and ripping them apart.

When you break up the planes, what are you able to extract?

There’s aluminum, copper. Why is it so impactful from the EV perspective? A lot of the 7-series alloys are already an aluminum-lithium mix. So you don’t have to extrude it, get the aluminum out, and then combine it again later with the lithium. The automotive sector has a keen interest in keeping that alloy, that same formula all the way through.

The conversation between Bloomberg and Cady also covered if repurposed parts are already on cars, how long it takes to dismantle an aircraft, the importance of battery casings and a whole bunch more.

What you’ve got to do right now is quit reading this story and head on over to Bloomberg for the full rundown of what Nandia is doing.

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