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35m network for ‘smarter, greener, clean’ steel industry

A new £35m research network has been launched to develop a ‘smarter, greener, clean’ steel industry.

The University of Sheffield will be part of the SUSTAIN research network, led by Swansea University and partnered with the University of Warwick, involving more than twenty partners across the UK steel industry including Sheffield Forgemasters.

Steel is used in UK manufacturing sectors such as the car industry, construction, packaging and defence and it is also a vital component of the UK’s future national infrastructure such as transport, communications and energy.

The network is the first time that UK steel producers and representatives from the manufacturing sector have joined together for a coordinated programme of research and it is the largest ever single investment in steel research by a UK research council.

Steel is already the world’s most recycled material and the network will investigate new ways of making the industry’s processes and products even greener, such as harvesting untapped energy sources, capturing carbon emissions and re-processing societal and industrial waste streams.

In a statement, SUSTAIN says they hope 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:

  • Zero waste iron and steelmaking, with the aim of making the industry carbon-neutral by 2040.
  • Developing new ways of acquiring and using data in new metallurgical processes, which will be used to deliver ‘bespoke’ high tech products.

Professor Mark Rainforth from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, 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.’

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