Voestalpine Unveils Strategy to Manufacture High-Quality Steel from Low-Grade Scrap
Voestalpine Unveils Strategy to Manufacture High-Quality Steel from Low-Grade Scrap

Voestalpine Unveils Strategy to Manufacture High-Quality Steel from Low-Grade Scrap

  • 16-May-2024 5:21 PM
  • Journalist: S. Jayavikraman

In collaboration with Mercedes-Benz and TSR Recycling, voestalpine is embarking on a pioneering flagship initiative aimed at showcasing the technical viability of circular economy endeavors within the premium segment. This project entails recycling post-consumer scrap ("old scrap") into high-quality scrap, subsequently processing it within the steel-producing industry to yield high-grade steel, which will then be utilized in the automotive sector. Through this endeavor, the steel and technology Group is not only making a significant stride towards sustainability but also exploring new avenues to meet the growing demand for scrap, particularly in the context of transitioning to green steel production.

As part of its greentec steel initiative, voestalpine intends to replace two blast furnaces, situated in Linz and Donawitz, with electric arc furnaces (EAF) beginning in 2027. The operation of these electric arc furnaces will involve a combination of liquid pig iron, briquetted sponge iron (hot briquetted iron, HBI), and scrap, depending on the specified quality requirements. Consequently, scrap emerges as a pivotal raw material, playing a significant role in the transition towards green steel production.

Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO of voestalpine AG, highlighted that the company has achieved long-standing success in closing production loops to preserve resources and ensure a steady supply of raw materials. He emphasized that the collaboration with Mercedes-Benz and TSR Recycling presents additional prospects and potential within the circular economy, representing another crucial element in the journey towards green steel production.

Hubert Zajicek, Member of the Management Board at voestalpine AG and Head of the Steel Division, emphasized that the ability to manufacture premium steel grades through low-emission production methods stands as a significant technological hurdle in transitioning to green steel production. He noted that intensive research is underway on various processes, with collaborative efforts between the company, its customers, and suppliers, aimed at devising solutions. This approach aims to ensure the continuous enhancement of voestalpine's prominent position in producing high-quality steel grades despite technological shifts.

Steel is renowned for its recyclability, allowing it to be reused multiple times with minimal loss in quality. As a result, high-quality pre-consumer scrap, also known as "new scrap," already plays a significant role in contemporary steel production. However, the growing demand for recycled materials, driven by the European steel industry's transition to green steel production, cannot be fully met by new scrap alone. Consequently, there will be a growing reliance on old scrap in the future, which requires extensive processing and sorting compared to new scrap, typically of higher purity, before it can be repurposed to produce premium-grade steel. In the collaborative flagship project involving voestalpine, Mercedes-Benz, and TSR, post-consumer scrap of lesser purity is being reprocessed to yield top-grade steel, used as side panels in the Mercedes A-Class sedan.

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