Steel manufacturing has a number of impacts on the environment. For example, air emissions, wastewater contaminants, hazardous wastes, and solid wastes. Every year, steel production generates hundred million tons of steel slag worldwide. Later, this steel slag that is produced due to the conversion of raw iron into steel then turns into a huge mountain and get largely dumped. But, only a few percent is used in embankments.
TU/e professor of building materials, Jos Brouwers think it as shame. So, he decided to make cement of it along with his industrial partners. The mineralogical composition very closely resembles that of cement. It contains the same components, but in different ratios. And it is public knowledge that the cement industry emits a very high amount of CO2: five percent of the global total. A cement substitute with no extra CO2 emissions would, therefore, be most welcome.
At first, scientists are going to use latest methods to properly get physical and chemical properties of the steel slag. In addition, they will take a detailed look at what different additives can bring in terms of cement-like qualities. Then they will use this knowledge and computational models to design new types of cement and concrete and test them out.
Brouwers hope that he will get success in making cement from steel slag. He also thinks that this new cement will replace normal cement. According to him, this new cement will be suitable for many common applications. It will make a difference of tens of millions of tons of CO2 emissions each year. For comparison, all the traffic and transport in the Netherlands produces emissions of around thirty million tons a year.
The new cement that he developing is also a money maker.
He said, “Steel companies now have to pay for their slag to get remove, it has a negative value. If we succeed, or only in part, it could mean tens of millions of euros in the Netherlands alone.”
“It is important that it is possible to change the composition of the steel slag by adjusting the steel production processes. You can keep the quality of the steel consistent and still ensure that the properties of the steel slag are more favorable,” he added.
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