One of the key objectives of the Steel Research Hub involves a commitment to the sustainability of the Australian steel industry, both from an economic and environmental perspective. This is achieved through a range of projects focused on both the optimization and efficiency of processes, raw materials and energy usage, as well as investigating new avenues for the recycling of by-products created through the steel manufacturing process.
In line with this shared commitment, BlueScope Limited (BSL), and the University of Wollongong (UOW) have announced a new project which focuses on supporting the sustainable recovery of iron and flux units, and separation of zinc (Zn) from current production streams and material stockpiles.
BSL has previously investigated technologies which seek to maximize the recycling of steelworks by-products. However, the recycling of a number of by-product streams including basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS) and blast furnace filtercakes, sinter plant electrostatic precipitator dust, and BOS secondary dedusting dust is currently limited by the cyclic increase in load of minor elements including Zn to levels that cannot be handled through existing process routes. New approaches to utilization, based on fundamental understandings, are required in order to separate and derive further value from these streams.
The new collaborative project aims to support and augment internal BSL recycling programs, with the expected outcomes including detailed physical, chemical, and structural characterisation of targeted by-products recognising their inherent variability; analysis of their reaction and partitioning behaviour under simulated storage and process conditions, and; development of requirements and/or strategies to maximise recovery of iron and flux units, and separation of Zn-rich streams.
The project team consists of University of Wollongong’s Project Leader Professor Brian Monaghan, a Post-doctoral Researcher (currently advertised), and BlueScope’s Associate Researchers, Dr Habib Zughbi, Dr David Pinson, John Heslin and Dr Sheng Chew.