Our Projects

Development and Implementation of Next Generation of Polymer Injection Technology in Steel Manufacturing

Project description and overview:

In this project, Molycop, UNSW and Crawford will develop technology which enables the recovery and reuse of the carbon and hydrogen from end-of-life Tyres, Conveyor belts and other rubber products in the EAF steelmaking process.

Within Australia 83%, or 386Mt, of waste tyres are exported, disposed on-site or consigned to landfilled in 2018-19. With the waste tyre export ban commencing in Dec 2021, Australia urgently needs new processing capabilities to reduce the landfill problem.

The introduction of this technology simultaneously:

  • Reduces Molycop’s reliance on imported carbonaceous materials from China,
  • Reduces the volume of problematic wastes going to landfill
  • Improves energy efficiency of the EAF steelmaking process
  • Further reduces the carbon intensity of Molycop’s steel products

This in turn will help steel manufacturing, an important sector in Australia’s advanced manufacturing industry, to be more competitive, through lowered production and import costs and be more sustainable through decreased emissions and energy consumption.

Molycop will implement the Next Generation of Green Steel technology at its Newcastle facility and will collaborate with UNSW to engineer new, unprecedented, high percentage waste material blends for making steel. The project will enable Australia to divert all components of tyres, conveyer belts and boots from landfill and enable MolyCorp to develop new global markets.

The main outcomes of this project can be categorised into three sections:

  1. New product development (i.e., micro-injection of polymers)
  2. Implementation of the Next Generation of Polymer Injection Technologies in manufacturing and recycling tyres, conveyer belts and gumboots from the mining sector which liberates carbon and hydrogen through a high-temperature steelmaking process.
  3. This project will enable Australia’s recycling industry to capture new opportunities from the value-added outputs generated from the waste tyres, conveyer belts and boots to new materials transformation process that can be created under the condition of EAF steel making.

EXPECTED IMPACT

  • Increased collaboration with other manufacturers
  • Increased spending on R&D
  • Better qualified employees
  • Increased number of staff with science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills
  • Better energy efficiency
  • Greater capital intensity
  • Higher trade intensity
  • Larger geographical reach

EXPECTED GROWTH

  • Molycop has calculated the expected revenue growth of $5.2M in revenue over 5 years. Based on the improvement in EAF steelmaking process at its Waratah plant and licensing the technology to other EAF plants steel plants around the world

EXPECTED JOBS

  • This project is projected to upskill and create an additional 34 jobs during the project and one year after project completion
Contributions:

Government Funds: $750,000​ | Industry: $750,000 | In-Kind: $1,100,000

Project Participants