BlueScope & University of Newcastle Launch Investigation into Use of Waste Plastics for Coke-making

BlueScope & University of Newcastle Launch Investigation into Use of Waste Plastics for Coke-making

Now nearly 6 months in, the Steel Research Hub is continuing its momentum with another collaborative project commencing between BlueScope Steel Ltd (BSL) and the University of Newcastle (UON).

The project is titled “Characterisation and Preparation of Waste Plastics for Coke-making”.  The project focuses on characterising waste plastics available from a number of domestic sources and developing appropriate processing techniques to allow this material to be successfully used in domestic coke-making operations.

The project team consists of University of Newcastle’s Project Leader Tom Honeyands, Research Fellows Soonho Lee and Arash Tahmasebi, Associate Professor John Lucas and PhD student Mathew McNamara, and BlueScope’s Associate Researchers Peter Austin and Epma Putri.

Published research has proven that, in general, small proportions of waste plastics can be successfully used in coal blends to produce metallurgical coke. However, these studies generally used either single plastic types or well-sorted waste streams, which are considerably different to the waste plastic streams that may be available domestically.

To achieve this goal, waste plastics from a number of available sources are to be obtained and characterised via various analytical techniques. Considering their characteristics, they will be pre-processed in various forms and blended with Australian coking coals to different ratios. Their coking behaviours under practical coking conditions will be characterised using several coking test facilities at the University of Newcastle and various analytical techniques.

Overall, the team aims to provide a useful tool to set up blending strategies to include the waste plastics for the coke-making feed materials without compromising coke-making products (coke and by-products) and generating adverse environmental outcomes.