Steel to be carbon-neutral by 2040

Materials World magazine
13 Feb 2019

The UK steel industry has gained a huge vote of confidence, winning £35m of funding to establish a research network for long-term improvements. 

Called SUSTAIN, the initiative will see industry leaders, steelmakers, trade bodies and manufacturers team up with universities to overhaul the production methods of steel and create new steel products to serve the material’s major markets. And according to SUSTAIN, it is projected to boost jobs, increase productivity in the sector by 15%, and double steel’s gross value added. 

Led by Swansea University, UK, alongside the universities of Warwick and Sheffield, SUSTAIN will run for seven years with two specific goals – aiming for zero waste and making steel carbon-neutral by 2040, and introducing smarter processes. 

The former will focus on production, lowering carbon emissions and addressing material waste streams to increase efficiency. Meanwhile, the latter will aim to embrace Big Data, making better use of the smart technologies available to refine processes. 

SUSTAIN Deputy Director at Swansea University, Dr Cameron Pleydell-Pearce, said, ‘We are already on the road to clean, green and smart steelmaking, but this is another giant step forward. Research and innovation are the bedrock of a modern steel industry. This network represents almost the whole UK steel sector, with researchers and companies working together on an unprecedented scale.’

Echoing the sentiments, UK Steel Director General, Gareth Stace said, ‘The future success of our sector rests on our ability to remain at the forefront of product and process innovation, delivering the new steel products demanded by our customers and society. This new hub will enable us to do just that.’

£10m of the total monies has been contributed by EPSRC, as part of its Future Manufacturing Research Hub programme. The remaining £25m was funded by steel industry members, universities, research and technical organisations, trade bodies, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.