Waratah-based steel maker Molycop has moved a step closer to replacing coking coal with discarded rubber from old tyres and conveyor belts in its quest to commercialise green steel production.
The company has been awarded a $750,000 Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre commercialisation grant that will allow it to implement new Polymer Injection Technology at its electric arc furnace.
The technology, developed in partnership with the University of NSW, enables the recovery and reuse of carbon and hydrogen from end-of-life polymer materials such as tyres, conveyor belts and other rubber products.
It will also allow Molycop to reduce its reliance on imported carbonaceous materials from China, reduce the volume of problematic wastes going to landfill and improve energy efficiency of the electric arc furnace steelmaking process.
"The implementation and further development of this green steel polymer injection technology will further cement our position at the forefront of responsible and sustainable steelmaking," Molycop Australia President, Michael Parker said.
"Molycop is committed to building the circular economy, recovering and reusing valuable materials from waste streams, reducing our carbon footprint and supporting customers' sustainability goals".
Director of the UNSW Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre, Professor Veena Sahajwalla, who invented the technology, congratulated Molycop for its commitment to implementing green steel production.
"The AMGC grant will enable Molycop to work towards fully operationalising our existing technology in its Newcastle facility," Professor Sahajwalla said.
"And what's also exciting is that we are collaborating in developing our Green Steel 2.0 technologies, which we are confident will at some point in the future allow us to be able to fully replace coking coal in electric arc furnace steel making with a range of waste materials.
"Being able to release carbon and hydrogen from waste as a resource improves overall efficiency, and helps us move towards decarbonisation because hydrogen is present in waste."
Molycop entered a long-term power purchase agreement in 2019 backed by offtake agreements with the Bomen Solar Farm and Sapphire Wind Farm, making Molycop one of Australia's largest supporters of renewable energy generation.
Molycop is also licensed to commercialise the technology internationally and is currently in discussions with international steelmaking companies.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.