Collaboration invents ‘Green Steel’ technology

Veena Sahajwalla tf september 2019
Image of Veena Sahajwalla by: Tamara Dean

The invention of ‘Green Steel’ technology in collaboration with OneSteel and then MolyCop has won a major award.

The 2019 BHERT Award for Outstanding Collaboration In Research & Development – Major Partnerships recognises excellence in R&D activity undertaken jointly by researchers in tertiary education institutes and partners in business and industry.

The SMaRT Centre, led by founder Professor Veena Sahajwalla, was recognised for the invention of its Green Steel’ technology in collaboration originally with One Steel and then with long-standing Newcastle-based steel maker MolyCop which is taking the technology across its global operations.

Professor Sahajwalla said, “This award is not just recognition for us as researchers, scientists and engineers but for our industry partner MolyCop – an Australian company that embraces innovation and investment in R&D in partnership with university, and MolyCop is now a world leader with this technology.”

Professor Sahajwalla and her SMaRT team invented Polymer Injection Technology, known as ‘Green Steel’, a process that involves using old rubber tyres as a replacement for coking coal which is a vital ingredient required in steel making as a source of carbon.

‘Green Steel’ has diverted millions of tyres from landfill and has become one of Australia’s most important manufacturing innovations of the last two decades, addressing significant environmental issues at the same time as improving the performance and competitiveness of Australian businesses.

In noting the importance of ‘Green Steel’, BHERT CEO Dr Peter Binks said, “Professor Sahajwalla has established a leadership position for Australia in low emission steelmaking, and has provided both growth opportunities for Australian steel and helped reduce environmental challenges.

“Our Panel was impressed with the partnership with OneSteel to develop and commercialise the technology, and now with MolyCop to make it available in international markets.”

The principles of this thermal-based microrecycling science at the SMaRT Centre has led to other new, world-leading technologies. Professor Veena and her team have invented MicrofactoryTM processes that can reform waste items like glass, clothing and timber into flat ceramic building products.

Waste plastic is also being tested in steel making.

This article was first published in The Fence magazine.

Image of Veena Sahajwalla by: Tamara Dean

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