Smarter, greener, cleaner steel: £35 million for Swansea-led research
The network, called SUSTAIN, is led by Swansea University, partnered with the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick, and involves more than twenty partners across the UK steel industry: companies, trade bodies, academic experts and research organisations. It is supported by a £10 million investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as it will be one of their Future Manufacturing Research Hubs.
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.
Picture: computer model for loading blast furnaces, based on Swansea University research, which has improved the efficiency of one of the Port Talbot furnaces, saving £1.1 million a year in energy and raw materials.
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:
Zero waste iron and steelmaking, with the aim of making the industry carbon-neutral by 2040: Steel is already the world’s most recycled material, but 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.