Tuesday, February 12, 2019

News: £35m project to create smarter, greener and cleaner steel

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Local experts from The University of Sheffield will join with other research and industry partners to work together on a seven-year programme to transform Britain's steel sector.

Liberty Steel, Sheffield Forgemasters and British Steel, which have facilities in the Sheffield city region (SCR), have signed up to the network called SUSTAIN which aims to create, smarter, greener and cleaner steel.

SUSTAIN is supported by a £12.5m investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and will be one of their Future Manufacturing Research Hubs. Led by Swansea University and partnered with the University of Warwick, the network involves more than 20 partners across the UK steel industry.

The announcement is a landmark as it is the first time that UK steel producers and representatives from the manufacturing sector have lined up behind a co-ordinated programme of research. It is also the largest ever single investment in steel research by a UK research council. The plan is that SUSTAIN will be a seed from which much wider research and innovation will grow, drawing on expertise across UK academia and beyond.

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The aim of SUSTAIN is to transform the whole steel supply chain, making it cleaner, greener and smarter, and more responsive to the fast-changing needs of customers. Its work will be concentrated on two areas:

Its work will be concentrated on zero waste iron and steelmaking, aimed at making the industry carbon-neutral by 2040, and on smart steel processing based on more intelligent uses of data to find ways to make industry's processes and products even greener, such as harvesting untapped energy sources, capturing carbon emissions and re-processing societal and industrial waste streams.

The project aims to double UK steel manufacturers' gross value added (GVA) by 2030, boost jobs in the industry to 35,000 and increase productivity by 15%.

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Professor Mark Rainforth from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Sheffield, said: "Steel is fundamental to every aspect of society. Developing higher performance steels with reduced carbon footprint during manufacture is key to reducing CO2 emissions and therefore contributing to the reduction in global warming. This grant brings together all the UK experts in steel to address this critical issue."

Dr Simon Pike, technical director at Liberty Steel, added: "We're proud to be involved in this flagship programme which will help make Britain a leader once again in the global steel industry.

"This initiative fits perfectly with Liberty's GREENSTEEL vision and with our commitment to the development of a new-generation of steels, including our own latest initiative to create new powder metal alloys suitable for Additive Manufacturing.

"We look forward to working with leading scientists and engineers from across the country to make SUSTAIN a big success."

Liberty Steel website

Images: Liberty House

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