AGH University and ArcelorMittal Poland are starting work on the management of iron-containing waste

On the photo from the left: Professor Mirosław Karbowniczek, Sanjay Samaddar, AGH UST Rector Professor Jerzy Lis, Tomasz Ślęzak

AGH University in Kraków and ArcelorMittal Poland have signed an agreement on cooperation regarding the management of iron-containing waste for the needs of the economy.

Within the framework of the concluded agreement, AGH UST and ArcelorMittal Poland shall cooperate primarily in the field of researching the possibilities of iron-containing waste management for the needs of the economy, including the needs of ArcelorMittal. The agreement involves developing technological solutions that will facilitate the management of iron-containing waste collected in landfills located south of Igołomska street in Kraków in an economically justified and environmentally safe manner. Moreover, the cooperation involves implementation and expansion of the developed solutions into the industrial phase. It is also important to develop a method for closing landfills in a way that is as neutral for the natural environment as possible.

The cooperation will involve the joint completion of R&D and implementation projects. The AGH team, represented by Professor Mirosław Karbowniczek from the Department of Ferrous Metallurgy of the Faculty of Metals Engineering and Industrial Computer Science, aims to develop solutions which will facilitate the management of waste produced during a few dozen years of steelmaking activity.

The AGH UST Rector, Professor Jerzy Lis, highlights: “The AGH University, since the beginning of its activity, has had a strong connection with the industry. Our greatest pride and success are the solutions we provide to the economy and companies. Those in the field of environmental engineering, which help to neutralise various challenges, are of special importance. It is in the interest of all of us and future generations to care for local natural resources. I am convinced that solutions concerning the management of materials deposited in landfills will improve the quality of this area and its rehabilitation will increase the comfort of living of the local community. I am glad that this agreement charts yet another area of cooperation of AGH with our important partner – ArcelorMittal Poland”.

Professor Mirosław Karbowniczek explains: “As part of the concluded contract, we plan to develop an innovative method for processing materials collected in the form of post-production waste and transform them into feedstock for the steelmaking process. The results of the first laboratory tests show the effective possibility of using hydrogen as a reducing agent in the processing of this type of waste. In the initial phase, we plan to conduct detailed laboratory tests of the metallurgical reactions that take place in order to design technological guidelines. Then, we want to build a pilot line to verify the adopted technical and technological assumptions. The results of the pilot verification will be used to design and build an industrial line for processing waste materials. The nature of the project is both environmental, i.e., waste recycling and land rehabilitation from metallurgical landfills, and scientific, i.e., developing and implementing an innovative ‘green steel’ production process with the use of hydrogen”.

The agreement with the AGH University is definitely a step in the right direction. Circular economy is on everyone’s lips and the actions we plan are circular economy in practice – they aim to manage waste that can be successfully recycled and reused in steelmaking processes or by other branches of the economy, for example, construction or cement industry”, says Sanjay Samaddar, chairperson of the board of directors and CEO of ArcelorMittal Poland. “Our plan involves gradual removal of this waste and clearing of the land, so that in 5-10 years this area will be completely changed and given a new functionality, in line with the vision of urban planning of the city. The cooperation with AGH not only fits the concept of circular economy, but also implies the application of new technologies, based on the use of hydrogen. The production of ‘green’ carbon-neutral steel is currently the most important strategic objective of the entire ArcelorMittal Group”, he adds. 

“In the context of this cooperation, it is necessary to remember that the iron-containing waste had been deposited on these landfills for a few dozen years of steelmaking activity, before the privatisation process. As ArcelorMittal Poland, we tried to dispose of it continuously, however, this was not an easy task due to the relatively small scope of applications for such waste. It is also noteworthy that due to the shutdown of the blast furnace in our unit in Krakow, no new waste is being deposited there”, comments Tomasz Ślęzak, member of the board of directors, head of Energy and Environmental Protection at ArcelorMittal Poland and adds that ‘The involvement of AGH in the process of developing ways of managing this waste, with its significant R&D potential, creates real possibilities for the development of breakthrough solutions in this field”.