Hyundai Steel aims to lead shift toward sustainability
A shift in the industrial paradigm and social values has led to a popular international norm — carbon neutrality. The concept is rising as one of humanity’s main obligations and Hyundai Steel is willing to take a leading role in such fields by standing firm as an “environmentally sustainable steel company.”
The company is planning to establish its identity through coffee waste. “Coffee Waste Recycling Project” is one of Hyundai Steel’s successful social ventures where leftover coffee grounds are transformed into valuable resources.
Leftover coffee grounds account for 99.8 percent of annual coffee imports which equate to 150 thousand tons. Hyundai Steel is innovating effective usage of grounds to highlight itself as an upcycling leader among diverse social ventures. “Our ultimate goals are to furbish our ways of contributing to society while sustaining our inherent motives as a leader in the steel industry,” said an official at Hyundai Steel.
Hyundai Steel and a self-support center in the Yeonsu region, Incheon signed an agreement this month after pondering methods of utilizing coffee waste to reduce smells related to livestock. Gyeongbuk Institute of Health and Environment, where the research was performed, proved that coffee grounds effectively diminish such odors by up to 95 percent. With Hyundai Steel and Incheon’s assistance, the institute will be able to accelerate its research.
Another eco-friendly project Hyundai Steel is contributing to is related to the substitution of blast furnace gas with cattle waste. In collaboration with Korea’s National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, the group has plans to full transition to cow manure solid fuel by the end of this year.
About 22 million tons of cow waste is produced in Korea annually and most of its use had been limited to fertilizers, emitting over 2 million tons of CO2 in the process. Approaching cow waste as a resource for steel production is a perspective that has been neglected for years due to its cumbersome procedure and profitability. Recent attempts however, have suggested the substance’s adequate application in a world heading towards a sustainable environment. Roughly four tons of livestock waste is expected to be recycled per single ton through this novel solid fuel. Subsequently, it can be estimated that about 1.5 tons of CO2 can be deducted accordingly.
On top of recycling coffee grounds and cow waste, Hyundai Steel and Samsung Electronics have invented a new technology to transform wastewater sludge into adjuncts for manufacturing steel.
Wastewater sludge is an inevitable remnants formed after creating semiconductors. The component accounts for a significant amount of calcium fluoride which is a similar substance to fluorite. Fluorite is essential in steel production to filter impurities such as sulfur and phosphorus. The two companies as well as Pos Ceramics signed a partnership in August, 2020 and have succeeded in generating steel from fluorite alternatives since April 2021.
Fluorite is primarily imported from China or South America. Hyundai Steel is planning to reduce its reliance on importing fluorite and replace it with wastewater sludge gradually in the future. Both Hyundai Steel and Samsung Electronics have high hopes for diverse applications of sludge and cost deductions on fluorite.
BY LEE HYEIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]