ELEMET - Energy and Lifecycle Efficient Metal Processes

Program manager: Jarmo Söderman, Åbo Akademi

Schedule: 2009-2014
Size: ca. 35 M€

Final report:
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Metal production is faced with growing demands of energy and material efficiency, along with economic competitiveness. The research program aims at creating new, intelligent ways of producing metals to reduce energy consumption, to improve utilization of raw materials and reduce wastes and emissions. Key research areas are metallurgy and thermodynamics that are applied to production processes through modelling and simulation.

The program consists of six research themes:

Radically improved material and energy efficiency in ferrous industry
The goal is to introduce new research and modelling methods in understanding the major unit processes for carbon and stainless steels, and utilize them to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Especially the blast furnace and electric arc metallurgy processes are studied.

New opportunities in base metals industry
Efficiency is sought in the whole production chain from ore to final metal. Advanced modelling of copper and nickel smelting requires new experimental data on thermodynamic properties of metal-sulphide substances. Various hydrometallurgical unit processes, especially leaching and ion exchange are studied and modelled to find new options for utilizing low-grade ores and meeting environmental and product quality challenges.

Towards zero-waste plant
Requirements and new concepts for zero waste metals production are studied. The focus is on new metallurgical solutions for treatment and utilization of dusts.

Life cycle management and environmental footprint
The target is to develop a metric for environmental efficiency of metal production technologies built on the relevant theoretical physical and chemical phenomena, which are complemented with actual operational data and measurements.

Innovative simulation tools for metallurgical processes
New advanced modelling platforms are developed that allow coupling of chemical reactions and physical transport phenomena in metallurgical processes, and predicting the evolution of structure and material properties from liquid to solid state and during subsequent processing until rolling and thermo-mechanical processing.

Development of production technology for future ultra-clean steel
Dominating physical and chemical phenomena will be studied to generate new process oriented models for the secondary metallurgical processes, such as Vacuum, AOD, CAS-OB and BOF processes as well as ladle treatments, casting area and solidification stages. They include behavior of supersonic oxygen jet and foaming and heat transfer to molten steel, including post combustion and termite reaction, and inclusion chemistry and steel-inclusion systems.




Program is active: