Renault Group

REFACTORY: THE FLINS SITE ENTERS THE CIRCLE OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

25 November 2020
8 min
RE-FACTORY: THE FLINS SITE ENTERS THE CIRCLE OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY.
This is not a scoop for anyone: the energy transition and growing ecological awareness means that both our mobility and economic model must evolve. Tomorrow, we need to see vehicles on our roads that are more sustainable, cleaner, capable of living many lives and going further, capable of taking you as far as 1 million miles.
by Renault Group

(Article updated 21 juillet 2022)

 

To know all about Refactory

the panorama in video

Details of each activity

To achieve this, we are creating the first Refactory in Flins. Having designed models that have marked our history, the factory takes another turn to become a site entirely dedicated to the circular economy. A first in Europe. With the Refactory, we want to reinvent ourselves to develop accessible, sustainable, carbon-free mobility solutions for everyone. Ready to follow us in this never-ending adventure?

Our definition of refactory

The Refactory is Europe's first circular economy factory dedicated to mobility. An industrial and commercial ecosystem created by Renault Group, open to start-ups and partnerships. Its objective is to encourage initiatives, develop innovation in the service of the circular economy, and to contribute to Renault Group’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality at its industrial sites in 2040 in Europe. A sustainable and responsible reconversion, both environmentally and socially, built on the many assets of the site and its collaborators.

Set ahead for 2024!

This transformation plan is being rolled out gradually from 2021 until 2024. The site is organised around 4 activity centres, each with its own field of expertise: Re-trofit, Re-energy, Re-cycle and Re-start.

 

 

Re-trofit: extending the life of vehicles

It's a fact. The second-hand market expanded strongly in 2021, driven by the awakening of an ecological awareness and new modes of consumption, which favour use over possession. To further pursue this path, we wish to bring together the areas of expertise required to extend the lifespan of vehicles and their uses. Our challenge: to succeed in preserving resources through efficient management of the flow of reuse of parts and materials on the same site.

usine flins renault

A 11,000 m2 second-hand vehicles Factory in Flins

The project would enable more than 45,000 second-hand vehicles to be reconditioned each year, by 2023. This will involve a simple, fast and cost-optimised logistics scheme supported by an industrial management system in the factory for the Paris region commercial network.

Discover The Factory VO in video

An extension in 2022

It aims to improve the quality of services and significantly reduce the turnaround time for the second-hand vehicles between entry into stock and resale. Previously 21 days, they have dropped to an average of 8! The aim is to preserve the value of the product as much as possible and reduce vehicle downtime.

A turnkey service for the sales network

Implementation of optimised transport flows, supply of spare parts, renovation, storage, production and online posting of photos and videos. And finally, real-time monitoring of the renovation stages of the sales managers of the sales network are part of this service.

Another observation: environmental regulations are becoming stricter in cities. Re-trofit wishes to capitalise on the Group's industrial structure and expertise to develop an attractive offer for the conversion of combustion motor vehicles to other, less carbon-intensive energies. This approach, implemented thanks to the partnership signed with Phoenix Mobility, is aimed primarily at professional customers, to convert commercial thermal vehicles to electric.

The division extends its services to vehicle fleets and shared mobility players, such as the ZITY electric car-sharing service.

Re-energy: production, storage & management of green energies

At the heart of the transformation of the automotive industry are electric vehicle batteries. And above all, the challenge of their life cycle, which is crucial for the environment. Hence the ambition of this cluster to strengthen the collection of batteries, to prepare them for their second life, and to develop portable or mobile storage systems. Not forgetting to develop maintenance and recharging services dedicated to new energies.

STARTING 2021 HAS BEEN INSTALLED IN FLINS A STATIONARY ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE BASED ON
ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERIES WITH A CAPACITY OF

15.5 MWH.

THE FLINS CENTRE AIMS TO REACH A CAPACITY OF
20,000 ELECTRICAL BATTERY REPAIRS
PER YEAR 2030, 2030THANKS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE.

The Flins factory is a reference in this field. It is there that, from 2011, industrial techniques for repairing electric vehicle batteries were created, before being distributed in 17 countries.

At the end of its first life in the vehicle and well before recycling, the battery provides an indispensable solution for renewable and intermittent energies: electricity storage.

New operating opportunities such as stationary storage make it possible to perpetuate this service. In this case, the battery makes it possible to integrate electricity from solar or wind power, on the scale of a house, a building, or even an industrial site. Several of the Group's experiments illustrate this approach:

  • In Porto Santo, stationary storage is ensured thanks to second-life Renault ZOE batteries, thus reducing the island's dependence on fossil fuels, while promoting renewable energies;

  • Two very large-scale energy storage projects (Advanced Battery Storage in France and Germany, and SmartHubs in the UK) have been initiated to reduce the gap between electricity consumption and production, and increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix;

  • Reconditioned batteries have begun a second life on board cruise ships on the Seine in Paris (electrification of the Paris Yacht Marina fleet) and soon on board sailing cargo ships for transoceanic journeys (Neoline project).

BETWEEN 2021 AND 2030, THE SECOND LIFE BATTERIES SOLD BY THE GROUP WILL REPRESENT AN ANNUAL CAPACITY OF MORE THAN 200 MWH, THE EQUIVALENT OF 4 000 FULL CHARGES OF A RENAULT ZOE.

Batteries at the end of their life are systematically recycled. With the support of our subsidiary Indra, since 2013 we have developed a long-standing partnership with Veolia for the recycling of batteries, from which metals are recovered after dismantling. To accelerate the development of this sector, we have encouraged Veolia to forge closer ties with Solvay. A fruitful collaboration, as they have set up a circular economy consortium. Its objective: to mobilise the best mechanical and chemical technologies and skills, and to transform metals into high-purity raw materials that can be used directly in the production of new batteries.

HYVIA, hydrogen mobility solutions
The Refactory hosts the activities of the HYVIA joint venture, launched in June 2021, which combine Renault Group and Plug Power to offer a complete hydrogen mobility offer for professionals. Three versions of Master H2-Tech (Chassis Cab, City Bus and Van) will be equipped with hydrogen propulsion, and will be able to access urban centres even in case of traffic restrictions aimed at limiting emissions. From light commercial vehicles running on hydrogen to charging stations and related services, HYVIA aims to provide the entire hydrogen ecosystem on a turnkey basis.

Re-cycle: optimising resource management

Good news. In line with regulations, the automotive industry in Europe has high rates of recycling and recovery of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs), as well as a high proportion of recycled materials in its new products, compared to other sectors. But we can always do better, can't we? The Group already incorporates an average of 30% recycled materials in its vehicles produced in Europe, and we want to go further. We want to continue to increase the recycled materials integrated into the production of new vehicles, while reducing procurement costs and the impact on resources.

Creation of a dismantling line

The transformation of the site includes the installation of a dismantling line starting 2024, to capture additional volumes and increase our capacity to source parts and materials in short loops. The ambition? To be one of the leading dismantling sites in France, and to develop expertise in the dismantling of electric vehicles, with an average of 10,000 vehicles per year.

Development of sorting, reuse and recycling

We rely on an ecosystem of subsidiaries and partners around recycling and recovery, which we intend to strengthen. Some examples? Our subsidiary Gaïa, already established in Flins, is responsible for identifying recyclable parts and materials and ensuring their reuse or recovery through recycling networks. As well as the transfer of the activity of the Choisy-le-Roi plant, which has been dedicated to remanufacturing for 70 years.

the year since which we have been offering in France a range of second-hand parts collected and selected from the Indra network.
the number of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs) processed by the Indra subsidiary in 2019
kg of recycled synthetic materials on the Renault ZOE, an increase compared to the previous generation.

Re-start: innovation made accessible for all

The ambition of this centre focuses on enhancing and developing skills, while accelerating research and innovation in the circular economy. Thus, Re-start is hosting an incubator for start-ups and partners, as well as a university and training centre, to reinforce the specialisation of the professions present within the Refactory. The training pole is also designed to promote the inclusion of people who have left the school system, to promote their access to employment.

An incubator open to all

The Refactory in Flins is integrating an incubator open to start-ups to develop or co-develop innovative projects. It will include a space for in situ experimentation on industrial installations, in collaboration with experts from different fields (vehicle architecture, materials, electric vehicles, energy, recycling, lean manufacturing...).

An Industry Innovation Centre

To support the incubator’s work, Refactory has an Industry Innovation Centre, whose skills are based on five activities:

In order to support employees in this transformation plan, the project plans to develop knowledge and skills through its Mobility Circular Industry Campus, in three areas:

GLOBAL TRAINING CENTRE

Created in 2010 in FLins, this international vocational training centre has until now specialized in industrial techniques. It now offers new modules to meet training needs within the Refactory, the Group and outside the company.

CREATION OF ACADEMIC TRAINING

On the scale of the automobile sector and industry, Refactory also intends to contribute to the creation of academic training, such as the creation of a Certificate of Trades and Qualifications (CQM). In order to share know-how more widely and design training courses that meet the needs of the industry of the future.

PARTNERSHIPS IN APPLIED RESEARCH

In the field of applied research, partnerships will be set up with consortia of schools and universities to boost innovation in the circular economy. By promoting concrete experimentation and direct immersion in an industrial field, the Group wishes to encourage research in the scientific field and in the human and social sciences.

Pioneer of the circular economy - 70 years of experience

Since its beginnings, Renault- Group is committed to making cars that last a long time.

  • As early as 1949, Renault developed the circular economy, with the remanufacturing of its parts at Choisy-Le-Roi (Yvelines, France).
  • In 1993, the Group incorporated recycled plastics into its vehicles.
  • In 2008, it developed a capital-intensive approach that is unique in the sector, through partnerships and equity investments in activities 100% dedicated to the circular economy.
  • Today, it is the only player in the automotive industry to have built a complete industrial and commercial circular ecosystem. A lever for sustainable competitiveness, which meets the high expectations of its partners and stakeholders, including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.