Grinding media specialist Molycop has announced that it has commercialised a new process to incorporate rubber from sources including end of life tyres and work boots in electric arc furnace steelmaking.
The announcement marks the next generation of Green Steel AKA ‘Polymer Injection Technology’. This replaces a portion of coke used in steelmaking with recycled materials.
Molycop manufactures train wheels, billet steel, steel bar and grinding products for the mining industry at its Waratah site, which has an output of more than 240,000 tonnes of steel each year,
It has been a collaborator with the founder and Director of UNSW SMaRT Centre, recycling scientist Professor Veena Sahajwalla (second from left), since 2014.
The new project involved Molycop, the SMaRT Centre, footwear manufacturer Crawford Boots, and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, which contributed $750,000 through the AMGC Commercialisation Fund.
According to a joint statement from the project participants on Tuesday, the new process reduces Molycop’s reliance on “imported carbonaceous materials by up to 20 per cent”, saves on Molycop’s electricity consumption, and removes “up to 90,000 tyres from landfill”.
“This project proves that Australia can develop and, critically, commercialise new and innovative ways to address waste and emissions that also benefits steelmakers’ bottom lines and the environment,” said Molycop’s President of Sustainability, Ian Tooze (pictured on far left.)
“Through AMGC we have bridged that commercialisation gap, developing a product, process and system that can now be offered to global EAF steelmakers.”
“By working collaboratively with Molycop we have been able to prove that polymer injection works and is commercially viable,” explained Sahajwalla.
“It is only through partnerships like this that we can truly achieve positive environmental outcomes at scale.”
Dr Jens Goennemann, Managing Director at AMGC, added that, “Together, Molycop, UNSW and Crawford Boots have manufactured a product that will reduce emissions and address waste in steel making, while generating more jobs and revenues for the nation – what more could you ask for?”
The news coincides with an announcement by Liberty Steel on Tuesday that it will will replace coking ovens and a blast furnace with electric arc furnace steelmaking at its Whyalla site.
Both Molycop and GFG Alliance have used the words “green steel” to refer to their activities.
Molycop has referred to the project mentioned above as “the Next Generation of Green Steel technology”, while GFG Alliance is currently attempting to transform its Whyalla site into a “world leading ‘GREENSTEEL’ facility.”