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LIBS innovation in aluminium recycling: Towards a sustainable circular economy

LIBS technology can be used in spectrometers to optimise aluminium recycling solutions (Credit: Avantes)

LIBS technology can be used in spectrometers to optimise aluminium recycling solutions (Credit: Avantes)

As the global demand for aluminium grows, industries must increase production while navigating a path toward greater sustainability. In achieving a circular economy, industries need to overcome several hurdles, such as the accurate sorting of aluminium alloys and the assurance of quality recycled materials.

The application of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has emerged as a game-changer, offering solutions to these pressing issues. At the forefront of this technology is Avantes, a leading provider of advanced spectrometers tailored for aluminium recycling processes. With decades of experience and a commitment to innovation, Avantes offers a suite of spectrometer solutions designed to optimise recycling operations and contribute to a sustainable circular economy.

Addressing key challenges in aluminium recycling through LIBS technology

The challenges in aluminium recycling are multifaceted, spanning from efficiently sorting alloys to maintaining the quality and purity of recycled materials. Material recovery facilities (MRFs) face the daunting task of processing vast quantities of aluminium scrap while ensuring accurate identification and separation of different metal grades. However, traditional methods often fail to meet these demands, leading to inefficiencies and compromised quality.

Avantes’ advanced spectrometers, equipped with LIBS technology, offer a comprehensive solution to these challenges. LIBS technology facilitates swift chemical analysis of metals through a multi-step process. A laser pulse is directed at the material's surface, heating it by thousands of degrees and generating localised plasma. Upon cooling, this plasma emits visible and invisible light, which is detected and analysed in a spectrometer to deduce the elemental composition of the metal.1,2,3

The efficiency of LIBS technology enables in-line sorting capabilities, with Avantes’ compact spectrometers empowering recycling facilities to achieve unparalleled precision in identifying and segregating aluminium alloys. This not only streamlines operations but also enhances the overall efficiency of MRFs, paving the way for optimised recycling processes.

Capabilities and advantages of Avantes spectrometers

Avantes spectrometers stand out due to their unique features tailored to the specific requirements of aluminium recycling. These include:

  • In-line sorting capability: Avantes spectrometers facilitate real-time, in-line sorting of aluminium alloys, ensuring accurate classification and separation of different aluminium grades for downstream processing.
  • Efficiency enhancement in MRFs: By automating the identification and sorting of aluminium scrap, Avantes spectrometers contribute to significant efficiency gains in MRFs, minimising manual labour and maximising throughput.
  • Quality assurance for recycled aluminium: With Avantes spectrometers, recycling facilities can confidently ensure the quality and purity of recycled aluminium, meeting stringent industry standards and minimising waste in producing new aluminium products.
  • High speed and sensitivity: Our spectrometers operate at high speeds, delivering rapid and sensitive measurements essential for maintaining optimal throughput in recycling plants.
  • High resolution for spectral analysis: Avantes spectrometers offer exceptional resolution, allowing for precise identification and characterisation of different aluminium alloys based on their spectral signatures.
  • Seamless integration and communication: Designed to integrate seamlessly into the 24/7 operational workflow of recycling plants, Avantes spectrometers feature robust communication protocols and flexible data acquisition interfaces.
  • Custom solutions and quick response: Leveraging over 30 years of experience, Avantes excels in providing solutions tailored to each customer's unique needs.4 Our responsive manufacturing and R&D capabilities ensure timely adaptation to evolving requirements in aluminium recycling.

Driving sustainability in aluminium recycling

Creating an efficient and effective aluminium recycling system is indispensable for a sustainable circular economy. Not only does recycled aluminium possess a smaller carbon footprint than primary aluminium production, requiring around 5 % of the energy to manufacture, but it serves as a way for businesses to save money.   

Through the adoption of LIBS technology, Avantes spectrometers enable precise alloy sorting, enhance operational efficiency, and ensure the quality of recycled materials. These features allow Avantes to make strides toward advancing sustainability in the aluminium recycling industry, contributing to the establishment of a more sustainable circular economy.

Avantes: A commitment to excellence 

Avantes’ commitment to innovation and excellence is poised to refine the landscape of aluminium recycling. With our advanced spectrometers utilising LIBS technology, we are proud to drive the industry toward a future where environmental stewardship and economic viability go hand in hand. Together, we shall forge a path towards a more sustainable and circular economy, one aluminium alloy at a time.


  1. What is laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS)? Avantes
  2. Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Beyond the Lab. Photonics Spectra…;
  3. Edward, H. & Zhou, W. Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Combined with Nonlinear Manifold Learning for Improvement Aluminum Alloy Classification Accuracy. Sensors (Basel). 22, 3129 (2022).
  4. Empowering Spectroscopy Solutions. Avantes
  5. Infinitely Recyclable. The Aluminum Association

Further information
Contact a member of the Avantes team today to find out more.



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