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Containment of emissions for each of the environmental compartments (air, water, soil, noise, emissions and waste), rational use of resources, management of production plants aimed at continually improving their environmental impact.  This briefly summarises the goals pursued by the Pittini Group through a process of constant research and innovation. It is no coincidence that the “Zero Waste” principle – a virtuous example of circular economy – had already been adopted as a production guideline back in 1995.  Zero Waste means that no waste is generated in the production of steel within the Pittini Group.  Waste materials are recovered and regenerated to reduce waste and create new opportunities for its reuse. Two other projects have been added to the Zero Waste strategy: Zero Waste Water (ZWW) and Zero Waste Energy (ZWE) which aim at reducing water and electrical energy consumption, respectively.

Zero Waste

The steelmaking process in an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) starts with a charge of ferrous scrap, which is fully recycled waste material from end-of-life goods.  After melting, the liquid steel is continuously cast. During the steelmaking process in the EAF a waste product is formed – better known as slag – which, after being cooled, is enhanced and transformed into a 100% recycled product, registered with the brand name Granella®. This product is used to replace natural basalt or porphyry in the construction of road surfaces with a high level of adherence and safety. To date, about 300,000 tons of Granella® are used per year instead of materials that would otherwise have to be extracted from quarries.

Zero Waste Water

The key objective to the Zero Waste Water strategy is to reuse water as much as possible by means of a Reverse Osmosis process, giving a two-fold advantage, namely reducing the use of water from water wells and the release of waste water to drain. Both in meltshops and hot rolling mills, for example, the water that is used to cool the various plants is recovered, treated and put back into the water circuits and partly integrated with well water. Below are the main results of the combined project obtained starting from 2010, referring to the plant of:

  • Osoppo: reduction of about 50% in water consumption;
  • Reduction of 71% in water discharges;
  • Annual water savings of 1,000,000 m³

Zero Waste Energy

The steelmaking and steel transformation processes are characterized by high energy requirements, which have a significant impact on the actions to be implemented to pursue the priority objectives of sustainable development for the Pittini Group.

Zero Waste Energy is based on an accurate review of all the energy sources used and the related consumption, on the certification of the management system, on the continuous quest to optimize energy use and recovery. One of the most significant results is district heating to the company buildings in Osoppo and for the benefit of the urban setting in Verona, by using the hot water from the plant cooling circuits.

In 2012, Ferriere Nord S.p.A. achieved the Energy Management System certification in compliance with the UNI EN ISO 50001 standard.

Investments in renewable energy and efficiency goals:

  • 2012: replacement of 6,000m2 of asbestos sheets with an 800kW solar photovoltaic system to prevent pollutants from being released into the environment and to save on fuel energy;
  • 2013: deployment of an internal district heating network that recovers heat directly from the fume cooling system of the EAF that would otherwise be lost;
  • 2014: the near zero impact design of the new Group headquarters located in Osoppo (UD). In winter, the heating requirement comes from the district heating network, whereas in summer, high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps (or ground source heat pumps) supply the cooling system.