The problems of raw material supply and rising energy costs make the circular economy and the valorisation of recycling an increasingly relevant, if not fundamental, activity within industrial processes such as steel production. The Retrofeed project falls within the scope of these operations because the focus of the research is on the testing of several potential waste materials from the recycling industry in order to assess their performance in EAF electric arc furnaces. The results of such analysis made it possible to identify which types of scrap for disposal can instead be used to replace the fossil fuels and natural gases normally used in steel production. This leads to a twofold environmental benefit: on the one hand, it saves valuable resources and, at the same time, it contributes to reducing the materials sent to landfill. Strong candidates, besides plastics, are biochar, which is derived from biomass, and granular products from used tyres. If we consider that approximately 350,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres, plus or minus 38 million tyres*, are recovered every year in Italy, it is easy to understand the advantages in terms of raw material availability.
Artificial intelligence minimising environmental impacts
The Pittini Group is significantly investing in the pursuit of sustainable steel production that simultaneously reduces costs as well as CO2 emissions.
The Retrofeed project, in which the Group is involved, is developing flexible injectors and burners for alternative materials with the aim of exploiting recycled materials in the EAF as opposed to fossil fuels.
In particular, the control circuit of the steel fusion system employs Machine Learning technologies to measure the performance of alternative materials used as fuels in the process. Thanks to the Digital Twin of the EAF furnace, operators can measure this performance in real-time and predict the outcome of the smelting process, thus reducing inefficiencies and costs and identifying the most sustainable solutions.
Commitment to research and investment in the most advanced technologies allows us to produce steel in an environmentally friendly manner, guaranteeing the same high-quality standards that have always been the hallmark of Pittini steel products.