A Brief Overview of the Recent Technological Advancements in the Steel Processing Industry
The steel processing industry has been some of the worst polluters of the environment, one of the reasons why this industry has been severely criticized. In a bid to reduce carbon emissions, several techniques and processes have been devised, out of which three stand out- Organic Rankine Cycle, Hybrit Process, and molten oxide electrolysis. These three innovations are expected to help the steel processing industry to expand its scope in the near future.
Steel is, by far, the most important raw material for the global manufacturing sector. Naturally, the demand for steel from various industries like automobile manufacturing, construction, consumer electronics manufacturing, etc., keeps growing with each passing year. The pressure of this ever-growing demand for steel from the various industries ultimately falls on to the shoulders of the steel processing industry. As a result of this chain of demand and supply, the global steel processing market has been witnessing a continuous growth since the last century. As per the latest market statistics published by Research Dive in its report, the global steel processing market is poised to garner a huge revenue of around $884.1 billion by 2031 at a CAGR of 3.1%.
Recent Advancements and Innovations in the Steel Processing Industry
One major reason why steel has remained relevant and crucial to the manufacturing sector is its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the different manufacturing industries. For this, the steel manufacturing and processing industry has been able to reinvent itself continuously by way of different innovations and technological advancements. On these very lines, in the last few years or so, new manufacturing and processing techniques have come up to suit the needs of the manufacturing sector and address the concerns regarding environmental pollution.
One such steel processing technique that has been devised by experts is the Organic Rankine Cycle. Rankine Cycle, whose upgrade is Organic Rankine Cycle, is a steel manufacturing process for production of hot-rolled steel, a primary raw material for automobile manufacturing industry. One major difference between the basic Rankine Cycle and Organic Rankine Cycle is that the modern steel processing technique opts for vaporization of a natural liquid rather than using steam obtained from water. This aids in reducing the pressure on the metal parts and brings down the rate of abrasion on these parts. All processes considered, Organic Rankine Cycle helps in reducing the carbon footprint of steel manufacturing industry by cutting carbon dioxide emissions to the tune of 10000 tons, thereby making it an eco-friendly manufacturing process.
Another stunning innovation in the steel manufacturing sector is the Hybrit Process. Traditional steel manufacturing and processing includes processing of pig iron using coke. This technique is a highly polluting one as it releases high amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To tackle this problem of carbon emissions, Hybrit process has been devised which uses hydrogen for treating pig iron instead of coke. As a result, instead of carbon dioxide, Hybrit process gives out water vapor emissions. Thus, in today’s common parlance, Hybrit process is a completely ‘green’ process.
Apart from Organic Rankine Cycle and Hybrit Process, molten oxide electrolysis is another recent breakthrough in the steel manufacturing industry which has garnered a lot of attention from steel manufacturers. Molten oxide electrolysis is a specially designed process for quickening and simplifying steel production from iron ore. Originally tested at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this technique utilizes consumable anode materials such as graphite for use with ferro-alloys and titanium. This drastically brings down the amount of carbon that is released, thus providing for a mitigating approach for the greenhouse emission problem.
Future Prospects for the Steel Processing and Manufacturing Industry
The 21st century has been typically characterized by increasing scrutiny of each manufacturing process and checking for its carbon footprint. The steel manufacturing and processing industry, too, has been subject to this scrutiny and has been criticized heavily for its role in climate change and global warming. As a result, researchers and engineering experts have been continuously engaged in developing techniques and processes which bring down the overall carbon footprint of the steel industry. In this backdrop, the three latest advancements- Organic Rankine Cycle, Hybrit Process, and molten oxide electrolysis- have given steel manufacturers a sigh of relief as these processes can once again help the steel processing industry to surge ahead in the coming period.
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