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Aluminum recyclers plan expansions

Sortera Technologies recently received major funding, and Spectro Alloys announced plans to construct a new building. | John New/Shutterstock

Spectro Alloys and Sortera Technologies are drawing up plans for multimillion-dollar expansions of their aluminum recycling capabilities.

Investing in AI

Sortera Technologies uses artificial intelligence, data analytics and advanced sensors to sort and recycle aluminum scrap. It recently closed a $30.5 million funding round, led by RA Capital Management-Planetary Health, to help it scale and commercialize its technology. 

The two-and-a-half-year-old company uses technology to accurately and rapidly sort pre-production aluminum and end-of-life mixed metals, according to a press release. Its first full-scale facility, located in Markle, Ind., is in the process of being commissioned. It will be able to sort up to 220 million pounds of mixed metals per year when it comes on-line by the end of 2023. 

Sortera also recently launched a research facility in Austin, Texas, to further develop its sorting platform. The latest funding will be used to expand Sortera’s operations in North America, according to the press release. 

Michael Siemer, Sortera Technologies CEO, said in the press release that the funding round “affirms our contributions towards global sustainable efforts and will be used to scale our operations to commercialization, grow our team, and, most importantly, continue to provide high-quality upcycled metal materials to our customer base.” 

He added that the company is “perfectly situated to seize the momentum and success of our technology platform and talented research team to expand our recycling capabilities into additional key materials and industrial applications.” 

Growing capacity

In Minnesota, Spectro Alloys is planning a $71 million expansion at its Rosemount recycling facility. It plans to break ground in 2024 on a 90,000-square-foot building to house new aluminum recycling equipment that will allow it to sort and melt post-consumer scrap aluminum and cast it into various sheet and billet alloys. 

The expansion is intended to help boost recycling rates in the state, a press release noted, and to serve the growing market for recycled aluminum sheet. The expansion will add 120 million pounds of annual recycling capacity when it comes on-line in 2025. 

Luke Palen, Spectro Alloys president, said in the press release that “as we celebrate 50 years of responsible aluminum recycling this month, we’re looking toward the future and the opportunity to improve recycling in Minnesota.” 

He added that the investment is “closing the loop for locally sourced materials.” 

The company also recently built a 70,000-square-foot distribution center for shipping and processing finished products, upgraded its air filtration and pollution control systems, and renovated its business office and internal facilities. 

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