Greener steel processing upgrading the industry

Steel production is responsible for approximately 4% of global CO2 emissions. In 2018, China produced 928.3 million metric tonnes of crude steel - half of the world’s total - leading to massive greenhouse gas emissions. Using low quality steel products limits structural integrity and creates huge energy waste. Decarbonising the steel production industry and improving steel quality play a vital role in the global fight against climate change.

Cleaning steel requires a lot of energy. It is heated using an electric current which removes non-metallic impurities. If these are left, they can cause cracks and instability. Professor Wan-lin Wang from Central South University, China and Professor Rong-shan Qin from the Open University, UK have developed an electropulse-based steel processing method.  Short electric pulses replace the electric current. This significantly reduces the energy needed to clean the steel.

If scaled up, this method could improve efficiency and reduce the cost of clean steel production. Alongside these technological advancements, the research teams have also benefited from a closer and deeper UK-China scholar network.

It’s important for scientists to work together for global benefits, and Newton Fund provided us with this opportunity.

Professor Wan-lin Wang, Central South University, China

Study of the Electropulse-based Superclean Steel Green Processing Method

Project leads: Professor Rong-shan Qin, Open University, UK and Professor Wan-lin Wang, Central South University, China

Delivery partners: Royal Society, UK and National Natural Science Foundation of China

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