Circular Economy: A Crucial Topic in R&D

Tenova is investing in new Research & Development projects with focus on Circular Economy to take on the challenge of environmental sustainability.

The future of the metals industry depends on the capacity of the players to adapt to new sustainable business models, especially from an environmental perspective. Tenova wants to be the right partner in this transition towards a green steel production, and this is why the company keeps on investing in R&D projects with a strong focus on Circular Economy.

In 2020, two projects named OnlyPlastic and iSlag have kicked off, both partly funded by the Research Fund for Carbon and Steel of the European Commission, which aims to tackle climate and environmental-related challenges in line with the European Green Deal approach.

“The logic behind Circular Economy has always been in the metals industry’s DNA, due to the intrinsic properties of steel”, affirmed Enrico Malfa, R&D Director. “What is really new is the application of digital technologies to achieve better performances throughout the productive process so to optimize the use of energy and resources. Additionally, we are striving to collaborate in projects of open innovation so to create a virtuous system along the entire value chain. Over the last years, Tenova has been investing in very ambitious projects such as the Lighthouse Plant, and OnlyPlastic and iSlag add up to our efforts for a green steel industry”.

iSlag aims at the EAF and LF slags valorization from  through improved slag conditioning and exploration of new recycling paths, to facilitate the implementation of a real “industrial symbiosis”. These targets are achieved by a novel intelligent system, which integrates innovative measurement devices for characterization of liquid and solid slag with modelling and simulation tools. Tenova, in particular, will apply LIBS-based system for solid slag monitoring at TenarisDalmine and Sidenor sites. The ultimate goal is to provide information on the slag features, which will be exploited by decision support systems, assisting the operators and plant managers to identify the most suitable recycling paths for optimal valorization of the slag inside and outside the steelmaking cycle.

OnlyPlastic is meant to substitute in the Feralpi Lonato EAF the fossil carbon sources (coal, coke, pet coke) – injected and charged as reducing and foaming agent – with densified polymers derived from plastic residue produced by the project partner iBlue following the Technical Standard UNI 10667-17 (Secondary Reducing Agent). In this frame, Tenova will design new injection systems customized for the granulated SRA alone and SRA blended/mixed with other materials, such as lime, slag and scale.  Tenova will also support Feralpi in optimizing the operative practices with new materials with the support of ESPOP® off-gas composition measurement system. The expected benefits consist in the preservation natural resources, the reduction of CO2 emission and the reduction of production cost index.