Steel is the most recycled material in the world, and can be reused any number of times without it losing its intrinsic characteristics.
With our production cycle we provide an important example of a circular economy, as we produce steel from scrap, thereby avoiding its dispersal into the environment and reducing the consumption of natural raw materials (e.g. iron ore) to produce new steel.
The steel produced by Feralpi is 96% recycled material.
Waste and production scrap are mostly sent for recycling and/or classed as by-products with only some residual waste requiring disposal.
We don't stop at just minimising product waste, we also apply a wider vision which extends to reducing the movement of raw materials and waste, reducing disposals, and replacing raw materials.
The first step towards an ethical model is reducing the production of waste. To do this we organise and manage processes and plants to minimise volumes and monitor impact.
Life Cycle Assessment at Feralpi Siderurgica
Over the years we decided to try and quantify the environmental performance of our products. To do this we adopted a Life Cycle Assessment method at Feralpi Siderurgica for hot rolled products, downstream products, and last but not least, Greenstone. Thanks to these studies we have been able to publish three environmental performance declarations (EPDs).
In doing this we considered every operation necessary within the 'production system' designed to guarantee production and distribution, commencing with quarrying the raw materials and/or recovering secondary raw materials, processing and transporting them, steelworks operations and consignment, in addition to deliveries of functional units of hot and cold-rolled steel ready for installation.
We then considered the process to obtain hot-rolled steel for reinforced concrete, commencing with scrap iron. Downstream of the hot-rolling process an analysis is made of the cold-rolling process, which Feralpi uses to make welded wire mesh and stretched products.
On our path-to-zero waste, we have set up the SteelZeroWaste project to lay the foundations for eliminating all production waste, and implementing innovative solutions to reduce environmental impact.
We are aiming for a total reduction in waste by reducing CO2 emissions (through capture and reuse), eliminating solid waste from the production cycle (and reuse as by-products for the internal cycle and external use). We promote the use of by-products made of plastic and encourage the reduction of plastics in the environment.
At Feralpi, we recover black slag (generated by the smelting process), which is processed by external partners and reused as a by-product in the construction industry to replace materials of natural origin, saving non-renewable sources. At the Lonato del Garda facility, slag is processed by a specialist company we work in partnership with to develop the treatment process that results in the commercial product known as Greenstone.
All by-products carrying the Feralpi Siderurgica brand (called Greenstone) have obtained CE 2+ marking in accordance with specific UNI EN standards. In 2019 the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD®) was produced.
In recent years, the Feralpi Siderurgica and Riesa facilities have been recovering heat from the steelworks cooling water, preventing it from being dispersed into the atmosphere. The heat recovery system from steelworks off-gas at ESF Elbe-Stahlwerke Feralpi generates steam which is partly transported from the local municipal enterprise in Riesa (Stadtwerke Riesa - SWR) to Goodyear Dunlop Tyres and partly used to generate electricity via an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine. Feralpi Siderurgica has however implemented a system to recover heat and interface directly with the system for cooling off-gas from the smelting furnace, heating the water distribution circuit along approximately a kilometre and supplying 4 MWt at a working temperature of 90 °C. Since 2019, the heat from the steelworks has made it possible to heat public buildings and some private buildings within the council district, thanks to the partnership with the local council. This worthy and effective collaboration between private and public parties involved Feralpi Siderurgica, ENGIE, the Lonato del Garda district council, and the engineering company Energard.
Spent refractory material from ladle demolition is returned to the production cycle to partially replace raw materials*. Its use in the furnace has no negative effect on the environment or human health.
Dust and Off gases
Off-gas abatement dust from the smelting process is mainly recovered by external plants as the zinc metal component, to replace the one which comes from the natural mineral. Off-gas abatement dust from the iron alloy plant is returned directly to the production cycle, with use equivalent to that of the materials producing it.
The residual fraction resulting from the scrap sorting plant is sent to external plants for recovery, by mechanically sorting non-ferrous metals (such as aluminium, brass and copper).
Mill scale is sent for recovery for external use. Green iron is the by-product from mill scale which is sold to plants for the production of counterweights and cement.
Un passo in più verso la decarbonizzazione.
Il progetto “Polimeri d’Acciaio“, è un’iniziativa che, in collaborazione con i partner i.BLU ed Euromec, ha permesso di sperimentare l’utilizzo di polimeri al posto di carbone e antracite nel processo di fusione.
In this circular economy scenario, collaboration with stakeholders in the supply chain, and private, public and external stakeholders is strategic.
Some of our partners who have been joining us in the development of circular solutions over the years include Enea, Rina, Brescia University, Tenova, Di.ma, I.Blu, Energard, Agroittica, Italghisa, Tecnoproject and Biosyntesy.