MELBOURNE, Australia (Aug. 26, 2011)—A senior professor at the University of New South Wales has developed a process to use scrap tires in the steel-making process.
Veena Sahajwalla, Scientia professor at the University of New South Wales and head of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology in the UNSW Science Faculty, worked with local steel-maker OneSteel Ltd. on the process.
OneSteel has licensed the technology from NewSouth Innovations, UNSW's commercialization arm, and conducted a successful trial at its Sydney and Melbourne plants. The invention has the potential to divert 300,000 car tires from landfills.
The system uses the old tires as a partial replacement for coking coal in the arc furnace. The carbon in the tires combines with iron to make steel, while the steel cord in the tires melts into the new steel being created in the furnace. There is no mention of the impact of sulphur on the steel.
The Australian company said it has made steelmaking cheaper and more efficient by slashing its power use by millions of kilowatts per year, and cutting its use of coking coal by 12 to 16 percent. The technology could massively cut power use and carbon emissions by the world's 300 electric-arc furnace steelmaking plants, which account for 30 percent of crude-steel output globally.
The project won the category of environmental project and was the overall winner in the University's Inventor of the Year awards for 2011.