Finding new uses for his steelmaking industry by-product is the aim of a project that brings together 19 partners from various European countries.
The goal of the project is to develop new technologies that open new alternatives for a by-product from the steel industry, steel slag. Broadly speaking, this is the reason behind RESLAG, a project that brings together 19 partners from various European countries –including research centres, companies and associations – and which is led by the Energy Research Cooperative Centre (CIC ENERGIGUNE) , located in Vitoria (Spain).
Slag is the main by-product obtained from the melting of ferrous scrap in the steel manufacturing process. Although around 76% of the produced slag is valorised on different productive sectors such as cement or concrete manufacturing, construction of buildings, roads and others, a huge quantity of steel slag cannot be recycled. In this frame, currently, around 3 million tonnes of slag is sent to European landfills each year, causing a severe environmental problem. This is unfortunately an increasing phenomenon due to the also increasing worldwide steel production.
It is therefore vital to find new solutions that avoid such dumping and which also offer the possibility of turning this waste material into value. And this is how RESLAG has emerged, a project with 19 partners from 8 countries (Spain, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Finland and Morocco), funded by the European Union (8.7 million euros) via the Horizon 2020 programme.
The valorisation strategies targeted by RESLAG project are four, each one devoted to finding a successful valorisation of the steel slag as feedstock in different operative frames:
- Recovery of valuable metals from steel slag.
- Development of new heat recovery and storage technologies for the steel industry by using steel slag as heat storage material.
- Implementation of steel slag as heat storage material in the solar thermal energy production.
- Generation of new refractory materials using steel slag as aggregate.
The beneficial properties shown by steel slag for its use on high temperature applications makes possible all the mentioned potential application of this waste material, opening new alternatives for its valorisation.
All these objectives will clearly contribute to a close-to-zero-wastes steel industry, providing an effective strategy to put in value one of its main by-products.