Steel is the most commonly used metal in the world and the most recycled material. Almost everything we use is either made of steel, or made using steel, and often both.
The process of manufacturing steel remains carbon-intensive, despite major improvements by the sector in recent years. 6% of global carbon emissions come from the ironmaking process alone. A single blast furnace produces 5 million tonnes of carbon each year.
For this reason, steel is often misunderstood as an old-fashioned industry. But it's an indispensable part of the future. A low-carbon green economy needs steel, for example for products such as wind turbines, trains or electric cars.
The development of efficient, low cost alternative fuels will help to reduce emissions, reduce energy cost and provide new business opportunities for the steel and materials industries.
Swansea University and its partners have played a crucial role over the past 20 years as part of the research infrastructure supporting the steel industry across South Wales.
In February 2018, Swansea University in partnership with Tata Steel founded the Steel and Metals Institute (SaMI), an open access centre of excellence which focuses on steel innovation by delivering practical solutions to industry. The Institute has a range of equipment that provides for research into decarbonisation, alloy synthesis, process simulation, mechanical testing and materials characterisation. By working with UK steel businesses, it aims to decarbonise ironmaking whilst maintaining process efficiency.
In order to address industry challenges such steel’s environmental impact, there is an urgent need to innovate products as well as the manufacturing process. SaMI is helping the steel industry move towards decarbonisation by enabling companies to transition from using coal as its primary energy source to a mix of renewable energy, hydrogen and waste materials.
The Steel and Metals Institute works with national companies like British Steel, as well as SMEs including Wall Colmonoy Ltd. to increase product performance and provide a deep analysis of results, which produces valuable insights for partners.
SaMI's unique capabilities and insight support companies to reduce carbon emissions from the industrial process by researching green alternatives.