Recycling Tyres & Plastic for Steel Production

Recycling Tires & Plastic for Steel Production

The production of steel has become ‘greener’ in recent times with the discovery of using recyclable materials such as rubber and plastic in the production process. The University of New South Wales Australia and steel company OneSteel Ltd have collaborated to achieve a breakthrough which replaces a significant proportion of the coke normally used in Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF) steel making with recycled tyres or plastics that are rich in carbon.

The technology is now a standard practice at two of OneSteel’s plants in Sydney and Melbourne. It is reported that over 1.8 million tyres have been saved from landfill and the technology has replaced the use of over 15,000 tonnes of coal. This has reduced many millions of KWh hours of energy each year while increasing furnace productivity and producing more steel from the same amount of ferrous scrap.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla who is the Director of Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the UNSW stated “This greatly improves the steel furnace’s energy efficiency.”

Veena Sahajwalla - High Temperature Furnace

Image: Veena Sahajwalla inserts a sample into the high temperature furnace

The process which is called ‘Polymer Injection Technology’ has been patented internationally and has been commercialised for international steel makers using EAF, which is responsible for 40 percent of the world’s steel production.

This new technology has the potential to significantly change the steel industry’s environmental footprint, improve the global output of steel and reduce the costs of manufacturers and buyers.

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Source: ABC, Cooperative Research Centres Association

Elle T. // SMC Editor

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