• Waste coffee grounds used as a carbon source for green steel technology
  • Leigh Creek receives Climate Active certification
  • Sovereign Metals’ rutile product reduces carbon footprint


The University of NSW’s (UNSW) SMaRT Centre has discovered remnants from your morning brew could provide a means to produce hydrogen instead of coke and coal for green steel.

In fact, in its latest research breakthroughs on green steel polymer injection technology, industrial trials with partner Molycop have shown various wastes (such as plastic, robber tyres, and now spent coffee grounds) can be used to make steel more sustainable in electric arc furnaces.

These waste products can be broken down to generate hydrogen, substituting coke and coal, two carbon intensive ingredients to provide a clean variant of steel, The University of NSW said.

By funnelling the carbon-rich coffee grounds into a furnace at more than 1500C, the oxygen-free environment transforms transforms the material into a vital element in steel.

“Steelmakers have to meet the demands of quality requirements,” lead researcher Veena Sahajwalla said.

“The metal that gets produced doesn’t have any memory of whether the parent material that went in was coal or coffee.”

The whole idea is to think about materials being produced by using waste and end‐of‐life products as raw materials and the concept of green manufacturing as value-adding, Sahajwalla explained.

“It gives you the kind of productivity requirements that any commercial operator will want,” Sahajwalla said. “

“We’ve proven that it does the job at a comparable level, so we’re going to be at least sitting at an equivalent performance.

“The ideal would be if we completely eliminate the coke,” she said.

“If you have a combination of materials, you get a better outcome because you’re able to finetune and customise green steel and take the kinds of materials that do the best job.”


Climate Active certification awarded to Leigh Creek

As part of the Federal Government’s Climate Active standard Leigh Creek Energy (ASX:LCK) has been awarded Climate Active certification for its business operations.

Climate Active is a partnership between the Australian Government and Australian businesses to drive voluntary climate action.

It certifies businesses that have achieved net zero carbon emissions and the certification process has vetted Leigh Creek Energy’s carbon neutral claim through independent experts to ensure it meets the requirements of the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Organisations.

LCK says it is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and becoming the first large scale producer of fertiliser to achieve carbon neutral status with planning and engineering underway through its front-end engineering and design (FEED) process.

“This helps us work towards establishing LCK as a nationally important, carbon neutral urea supplier for local and export agriculture markets,” Leigh Creek managing director Phil Staveley said.

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Sovereign’s natural rutile to reduce pigment industry carbon footprint

Sovereign Metals’ (ASX:SVM) latest life cycle assessment study (LCA) at the Kasiya Rutile Project in Malawi has confirmed the company’s natural rutile product is expected to have “substantially lower global warming potential” (GWP) – meaning scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, when compared to other titanium feedstock alternatives produced by upgrading ilmenite.

Using natural rutile from Kasiya as titanium feedstock for the chloride pigment process could hold the solution to developing low-carbon footprint products including low carbon paints, SVM said in a market announcement this morning.

“This has direct economic benefits to end users in jurisdictions such as the EU, where industry pays for carbon dioxide emissions via the EU’s Emissions Trading System and the proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism,” managing director Julian Stephens said.

SVM appointed Minviro Ltd (Minviro) to conduct a cradle-to-gate LCA on the production of natural rutile using methods and parameters in the 2021 initial Kasiya Scoping Study.

This newly expanded LCA builds on the LCA study completed last year, which demonstrated the substantial environmental benefits possible by utilising natural rutile (TiO2) versus beneficiated highgrade titanium feedstocks.

SVM says Kasiya is designed considering both the Equator Principles and Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions under the Green House Gas protocol so that the design meets high standards for ESG from the outset.

Access to hydro-generated grid power and solar system to be installed on site will ensure low carbon power supply for the project.


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