Steel is oxygen for industries for being overly used as a raw material. It has a couple of eras, each transcending to a more superior one. The Bessemer process no longer runs the turf of steel manufacturing. Green steel made its debut with a bang and manufacturers have widely adopted the concept. To cast a blind eye on Green steel is being oblivious to a year’s revenue.
What is Green Steel?
Green steel is a steel making process that is a bang for your buck. This new process tows with it abundance in improved quality, cut down costs and the biggest reprieve is that it lowers greenhouse gas emissions. When you implore green steel, emissions become the least of your worries, considering that a good portion of the world’s greenhouse gas is from steel production.
The world’s production of steel is about a billion tons each year. With Green Steel cast in the picture, you are bound not just to produce more but also the crème quality of steel. The icing at the helm of Green Steel is the lowering of greenhouse gas emission. This is half the hassle you encounter with other steel manufacturing processes; two tons of carbon dioxide is generated by just one ton of steel.
Green steel as pioneered by MIT researchers is a win, win, win concept; lowers cost of steel production, produces quality steel and reduces emission of greenhouse gases. In truth, Green steel is a timely intervention because metallurgy is negatively affecting forests. Before fossil fuels initially wood was being used to fuel the hot steel furnaces and this means rapid deforestation.
Green Steel; A NASA Intervention
Green steel manufacturing was discovered during a NASA expedition that sought to give headways on how to produce oxygen on the moon. This mission was using iron oxide in the lunar soil to produce oxygen through molten oxide electrolysis. Interestingly they got steel as a by-product and this was the green steel manufacturing threshold.
The problem however was to figure out how to make the process economical for the iridium anode was expensive. Unlike traditional manufacturing which heats iron oxide with carbon to produce steel, this one uses metal oxide electrolysis and iridium anode as a catalyst. Chromium anode alloy is abundant for the whole process and in turn cuts down the cost by half.
The Intrigue behind Chromium Iron Alloy
Take it from Donald Sadoway; the MIT professor of material chemistry alludes it was hard to find a material that would suitably replace iridium anode. The new paper senior author flashes back the aggressive melt they would face when oxygen reacted with the metal. Moreover, a vat of molten oxide needs to be kept at 1600 degrees Celsius. If you connect with this, it is a tough environment to counter.
Enter chromium iron alloy. This alternative material was explicit in design. First off, it is thin enough to allow electric current to flow through it and it forms a thick metal oxide to prevent further penetration by oxygen.
Green Steel Manufacturing vs. Traditional Manufacturing
This MIT spawned process can do something that current used processes cannot. It is suitable to small-scale factories and this feat is one traditional manufacturing cannot compare. It limits carbon emissions and boosts production to meet the ‘economical’ scale of steel production. It stands now that for s steel production to be economical it needs to produce at least a few million tons of steel annually.
Green steel manufacturing is salvage for small-scale factories for it allows them to generate a few thousands of tons of steel per year. Green steel manufacturing changes the whole game of steel manufacturing simply:
Green steel allows for production of pure steel.
2. Easy adaptation.
Green steel manufacturing is freely adoptable into the carbon -free production of a variety of metals and alloys like such as nickel, ferromanganese, and titanium.
The only thing left out for green steel manufacturing to quantify is if it will be cost effective against other already established systems. This is because the process has not been legislated yet to account for production of its greenhouse gases for it is only this, which will determine which process is better in a phase-off.
The whole scope of green steel is vast and takes time to manifest fully. For instance, the pioneer researchers are forming a company that will endeavor in further developing this process. Within a span of 10 years to come green steel manufacturing will breach the now vague boundaries.
A Viable Prototype Electrolysis Cell
Imagine how convenient a prototype electrolysis cell will be! Steel production will be fluent for all and it might even go beyond the economical scale of steel production. This is the foresight of a few individuals whose utmost desire is in the next three years to have already designed and tested out a prototype electrolysis cell. What is more is the cell intends to be commercial so that steel manufacturing becomes easier.
Sustainable Steel at the Center of a Green Economy
Someday in the future probably, you will start to see steel manufacturers starting to certify steel products for use. This is the dream of Veena who is responsible for inventing green steel manufacturing. She envisioned this process should be the resolve for greenhouse gases emission through making steel by using recycled rubber tires.
Veena, an Indian native could see the 10,000 metric tons of waste produced a day besides her home city, Mumbai being the electronic waste dispatch for India. This sparked a genuine science and technology fancy in Veena so she chose to pursue science and engineering.
She broadened her horizons by studying in other countries like the United States and Canada. She would see how people associate with rubbish, not wanting it in their backyards and it made her think of how to re-use rubbish.
What blossomed green steel was when she started to think about how to re-form the waste that cannot be recycled? Green steel manufacturing will allow for generation of new-age products. For instance, you can take out of a windscreen glass the valuables and make new-age products. No more landfilling waste and energy efficiency becomes the mantra of green steel manufacturing.