The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has published a position paper on the steel industry’s use of co-products. Co-products are valuable materials produced alongside or as a consequence of the production of steel. For example, process gases are used as sources of heat and electricity, dusts and sludges are used as alloying elements and slags have a wide range of uses in road construction and cement and fertiliser production.
Åsa Ekdahl, Head, Environment and Climate Change, and secretary of worldsteel’s Environment Committee said, “the steel industry is currently operating at a material efficiency level of around 96%, that is to say only around 4% of outputs from the steelmaking process are not used. We therefore still have some way to go to reach our aim of creating zero waste. The position paper outlines why this is important and how it might be achieved. What is crucial is that legislation in different markets should first of all clearly differentiate co-products from waste and then encourage their use to save energy and virgin raw materials.”
The paper also cites examples of applications of steel industry co-products, the importance of enhancing partnerships with other industries and the importance of increased government support in funding research.
Steel industry co-products and their uses: