Steel is one of the most used materials on Earth: buildings, infrastructure, cars, lorries, ships, machines, and many other goods are made of steel and human activities depend on their services. Unfortunately, steel-making is one of the most energy and carbon intensive industrial processes, accounting for 25% of global industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.
Our work aims to identify opportunities to add value to less use of steel at different stages of the supply chain, including the assessment of:
- The flows and stocks of steel in the UK
- The limits to a circular economy of steel
- Downstream integration of the steel supply chain
- Opportunities and limits to up-cycling steel
- Steel powder
- Steel reuse
By mass, we make around 25 times more steel than aluminium each year. By volume, because aluminium is three times less dense than steel, we make about 8 times more steel than aluminium, However, aluminium products are around five times more energy intensive than steel, and while the average life expectancy of a steel product is 34 years, for aluminium it is 21 years (prediminantly due to the use of steel in longer lasting constructrion and the use of aluminium in short-lived packaging). There are many strategies for increasing efficiency, including making longer life products and reducing the yield loss in a manufacturing process.