Revolutionising how Iron & Steel industries treat waste

Iron & Steel industries contribute about 8-9% to the global CO2 emissions. They also generate more than 400 million tonnes of slag every year, most of which ends up in industrial landfills,

Fig. 1: Slag dump site next to river bank in Sigaddi, Uttarakhand, India
Image source: Centre for Science and Environment (Courtesy: cseindia.org)

Raghavendra Ragipani, a research scholar with the IITB-Monash Research Academy, is working on how the two wastes—CO2 and slag—can be upgraded to valuable products and recycled to industry.

"Solid waste disposal is a challenge due to limited land availability and possible ground water contamination, and there is an urgent need to practise green chemistry to transform 'dirty' industries into zero waste industries," says Raghavendra. "This project gives me a great opportunity to solve two critical and vexing problems."

Fig. 2: Scheme showing production of CaCO3 from steel slag (Courtesy:Raghavendra Ragipani )

Under the supervision of Prof. A. K Suresh (IITB), Prof. Sankar Bhattacharya (Monash), Raghavendra is attempting to understand the kinetics and accordingly develop a frugal process which could revolutionise the way Iron & Steel industries treat their wastes. A successful outcome, he hopes, will lessen CO2 emissions within the industry by 10%, reduce calcium carbonate mining, and increase Iron & Steel production by 2% through recovery of iron from slag.

The IITB-Monash Research Academy is a pioneering joint-venture research partnership between the leading institutions in India and Australia. The Academy, as it is commonly referred to, offers research scholars the opportunity to study for a dually-badged PhD from both IIT Bombay in India and Monash University in Australia. Students spend time at both countries over the course of their research and many, like Raghavendra, work on projects that are strongly-interdisciplinary in nature and with an applied research focus.

"A large number of multi-national companies have set up R&D centres in India. It is important that IIT Bombay and Monash University are connected to the research agenda that is being crafted in these R&D Centres. Given its strong industry-facing intent, the Academy is an important vehicle that will help achieve this connection," says Professor Murali Sastry, CEO of the Academy.

The work being undertaken by Raghavendra can have a significant impact on restricting the increase of global temperature to below 2°C, the figure agreed on during the recent climate change summit in Paris. We'll be watching his progress closely.

Research scholar: Raghavendra Ragipani, IITB-Monash Research Academy

Project title: Mineral carbonation of LD slag

Supervisors: Prof. A. K Suresh (IITB), Prof. Sankar Bhattacharya (Monash)

Contact details: raghavendra.r@iitb.ac.in

This story was written by Mr Krishna Warrier based on inputs from the research student and IITB-Monash Research Academy. Copyright IITB-Monash Research Academy.