Reducing CO² by Recycling Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has many qualities that give it the edge over other materials when it comes to the question of sustainability. One of these qualities is stainless steel's ability to be completely recycled without any deterioration. New research has shown that recycling stainless steel scrap has 'great potential' to save on greenhouse gas emissions. 

In 2009, researchers at Fraunhofer UMSICHT (a German-based company involved in researching climate-neutral energy systems) carried out an in-depth study which 'determined a savings potential of more than 4.5 tonnes of CO² per ton of blend' The study was carried out on behalf of the Oryx Stainless Group which, founded in 1990, is a leading trade organisation for raw materials in the production of stainless steel.

Researchers at Fraunhofer UMSICHT recently repeated their 2010 study at two of Oryx Stainless Group's sites. Results of the measurements taken and subsequent calculations show that CO² savings have continued to increase in the intervening years. In 2009, savings were equivalent to 2,026,000 tonnes of CO² while the newer calculation gave a result of 3,015,000 tonnes of CO², an increase of almost one million tonnes. 

The savings arise when new stainless steel is produced using secondary raw material blends, as opposed to primary raw materials. These secondary materials are combined with different stainless steel alloys to produce blends to the correct technical specification; the blends are then used as the primary input into an electric arc furnace process. 

Computing the final results began with calculating the total CO² savings made when using secondary materials in the electric arc furnace process described above. The resulting figure was further refined by taking into account the complete process chain at the two Oryx sites, including the collection of scrap, the production of blends and final transportation to the end user. 

Commenting on the new calculations, Group Manager of Fraunhofer UMSICHT's Sustainability Assessment Dr.-Ing. Daniel Maga said: "In order to be able to compare the values meaningfully and reliably with our earlier calculations, we have also recalculated the data for 2009 again with our new model." 

To find out more about the sustainability of stainless steel, as well as how BS Stainless works to further enhance it, please check out past blog articles on our website, where you will also find our extensive product catalogue. For more special features like this, along with lots of other news and updates, please subscribe to our regular newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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