Steel Slag Technology a Viable & Sustainable Green Solution

CSIR-CRRI International Conference on Steel Slag creates awareness on its usage as a substitute for natural aggregates, and its long-term environmental and economic benefits.

CSIR-CRRI International Conference on Steel Slag creates awareness

CSIR-CRRI, in collaboration with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organized an International Conference on "Steel Slag Roads: Transforming Waste to Wealth," on 29th June, in New Delhi. The event also saw the release of the ‘National Guidelines for Utilization and Processing of Steel Slag as Processed Steel Slag Aggregates for Road Construction’, along with a PHDCCI-CRRI Knowledge Report on Steel Slag Roads. Prof. Manoranjan Parida, Director, CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), welcomed the dignitaries.

Guest of Honour V. K. Saraswat, Member (Science) NITI Aayog, delivering the address, said, “The adoption of the national guidelines for construction and maintenance of road networks using steel slag is expected to bring benefits like cost saving, reduced environmental impact, and improved road performance.”

CSIR-CRRI International Conference on Steel Slag creates awareness

“Given the scale at which we are operating today, transportation costs pose a significant challenge, potentially increasing the overall cost of steel slag aggregates and making them less competitive for road builders. However, there are two crucial points often overlooked when comparing the cost of natural aggregates with steel slag aggregates. Firstly, sourcing of natural aggregates involves both ethical and illegal practices, where a significant portion comes from unauthorized sources. This presents a serious issue. Moreover, when factoring in the costs associated with transportation, it’s important to consider that illegal practices also incur indirect costs to society and the environment. This underscores the need for a model that promotes ethical sourcing practices, ensuring transparency and legality throughout the supply chain,” Mr. Saraswat added.

“The second point relates to sustainability. We need to acknowledge that maintaining current performance standards with traditional technologies may not be feasible. Transitioning to innovative technologies, like those involving steel slag, necessitates an initial investment in sustainability practices. This is a crucial step towards achieving longterm environmental and economic benefits.”

He informed that CSIR-CRRI Steel Slag Road Technology is making significant contribution to realize the ‘Waste to Wealth’ vision of the Hon. Prime Minister of India. He congratulated Dr. Manoranjan Parida, Director-CRRI, and Shri Satish Pandey, Principal Scientist and inventor of steel slag road technology for their exemplary contributions for the development and implementation of this technology across the country.

Nagendra Nath Sinha, IAS Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Steel, said, “We aim to extract value from everything, including waste heat, scrap, and slag. Every usable byproduct is repurposed. Steel slag is a versatile material with numerous applications such as road construction, artificial reef, harbour development, wastewater treatment (as it can remove mercury), and carbon dioxide capture. Steel slag can also act as a soil modifier in agriculture, a project that our ministry is actively working on.”

He informed that the extraction of natural aggregates year after year has significant impacts on our natural habitat. In states like Jharkhand, the hilly terrains and natural features are adversely affected, impacting ecology, groundwater availability, and other resources. It is our duty to ensure the maximum use of waste materials from the steelmaking process. For instance, blast furnace slag is extensively used in cement production. This example highlights the potential for utilizing steel by-products.

The guidelines developed by CRRI for steel slag utilization provide a comprehensive framework for the effective and safe use of different types of steel slag in various types of road construction works, including detailed framework for proper handling and storage of steel slag to prevent environmental contamination.

CSIR-CRRI International Conference on Steel Slag creates awareness

Satish Pandey, Principal Scientist & Organising Secretary, CSIR-CRRI, gave a brief presentation on Steel Slag Road Technology developed by CSIR-CRRI under a research project funded by the Ministry of Steel and sponsored by major steel industries viz. AM/NS, JSW Steel, Tata Steel, and RINL. “With this support, we have successfully demonstrated the project in different parts of the country, from Surat to Arunachal Pradesh to Dolvi in Maharashtra,” he said.

Prof. Parida informed that steel slag aggregates are used for bituminous roads and cement concrete roads, providing durable and optimized options for road construction. They serve as an excellent substitute for natural aggregates, which are a scarce resource. The Indian Road Congress is actively considering, through various technical committees, the preparation of a code of practice for the widescale utilization of steel slag in road construction.

Steel slag is one of the major solid wastes generated in the steel industry, with around 19 million tonnes produced annually in India from various integrated steel plants. This quantity is expected to reach 60 million tonnes by the end of 2030. Disposal of steel slag is a significant concern for steel industries as it is considered waste material and is largely disposed of as landfill or piled up inside the steel plants.

Dr N Kalaiselvi, Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and Director General, CSIR, said, “We recently received a letter from the United States Maritime Department, expressing interest in extending our steel slag technology to them. This request highlights that our achievements in India, while significant, must also gain international recognition to be truly successful. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the CRRI team, whose leadership and efforts have been instrumental in this success. Roads are crucial for the development of any country, and the technology for building these roads is equally important. Traditionally, people say that all roads lead to Rome, highlighting the greatness of those routes. However, we need to redefine this notion: roads built using steel slag are not only great but are also leading us to success.”

In his address to the audience from the construction and research industry, Ranjan Dhar, Director & Vice President - Sales and Marketing, Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India, said, “As India advances towards its 2047 goal of becoming a developed economy, manufacturing and infrastructure will be crucial drivers for this growth. Today, as the world's second-largest steel producer, India cannot envision becoming a major global economy without the pivotal role of steel. Steel-intensive growth is the best path to accelerate development towards a $5 trillion economy.”

He highlighted India’s First Steel Slag Road built at Hazira Surat by AMNS India and CSIR-CRRI in April 2022 using 100 thousand tons of processed EAF steel slag aggregates developed at AMNS India Hazira plant. This sustainable road project received national and international recognition and was inducted in the India Book of Records and in the Asia Book of Records for its novel technological initiative. It is also an example of Waste to Wealth and the Clean India Mission as it reduces greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.

V R Sharma, Vice Chairman, JSP group Advisory Services, informed that the company is using steel slag for various applications in its projects like road construction, foundations, boundary walls, etc, which reduced their stone aggregate requirement by 44 to 45%. The company also offers aggregates free of cost to promote their wide application in construction projects.

A brainstorming session was conducted on "Steel Slag Aggregates: A Sustainable Construction Material" and "Valorisation of Steel Slag as Processed Steel Slag Aggregates." This was followed by a panel discussion on "Utilisation of Steel Slag as Road Construction Materials."

Several exhibitors, including Terex Recycling, Suyog Elements India, JSW Cement, and Alltech, showcased their products and technologies. Stakeholders from the construction industry had the opportunity to interact and share ideas related to the adoption of steel slag technology in road construction.
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