13 Jan 2022

British Steel joins £1.4 million by-products study

British Steel is taking part in a £1.4 million research project to increase the utilisation of some of our waste material for the sustainable manufacture of cement.

Researchers from The University of Sheffield Department of Materials Science and Engineering are developing processes and technologies for incorporating unprecedented amounts of iron-rich by-products from the steel industry and utilising them in cement processing.

The cement industry worldwide is currently responsible for around 8% of global CO2 emissions. Cement processing uses a significant amount of calcium in the form of limestone. When these chalky materials are processed, almost half of the mass is released as CO2. If this bulk material could be substituted for an alternative, this could significantly reduce cement’s environmental impact.

The research project will also look at the possible beneficial aspects of other elements, like zinc, in cement manufacture. 

Starting in June 2022, the project will be named ‘FeRICH: developing iron-rich cement for the valorisation and upcycling of steel slags’. It will assess ways to upcycle the by-products of the steel industry leading to iron-rich resources, and the formulation of final cement and concrete products which can be adopted by the construction industry.

British Steel’s Head of R&D, Dr Gari Harris, said: “This exciting project is further evidence of our drive to develop greener and more sustainable manufacturing in the UK.

“Many of our by-products are already used by ourselves, and our customers. This study may not only reduce both industries’ environmental impact, it could also allow us to modify and design our manufacturing processes for enhanced recycling and valorisation of our by-products.”

Other partners of the FeRICH project are Hanson (Heidelberg Cement Group), VITO (Flemish Institute of Technology) and RWTH Aachen University (Institute of Building Materials Research). It has been supported with a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.