By Oliver Hall
Converting old car tyres and plastic bags into steel is the tip of the sustainability iceberg which is exciting inventors and manufacturers.
The award-winning polymer injection technology substitutes carbon-rich rubber (tyres) and plastic (bags) for some of the coke used in electric arc furnaces to make steel.
It has already been licensed by manufacturer OneSteel who have carried out successful trials and are intending to replace up to 30% of the coke and coal used in its steelmaking process.
But the inventor Professor Veena Sahaajwalla has all kinds of other materials “simmering away” for potential re-use.
“Once they hear about these two examples – plastic and rubber – people are really excited about the idea and want to ask questions about different types of waste materials that could be used,” she said.
“There are lots of other things that are simmering away in the background, which I’m not at liberty to discuss.
“But there’s a lot of buzz in the industry about the potential – I think this is only the beginning.”