ECN contributes to the MiLeSlag project as a scientific partner

Monday July 4, 2016 08:55

For every ton of produced steel several hundred kilogram of slag accrue inevitably. These slags can be re-used in road construction, which increases resource efficiency and contributes to the circular economy. However, the application of steel slags has been restricted in some countries because of the possible release of contaminants. In the Mineralogy and Leachability of Steel Slags (MiLeSlag) project, in which ECN has a significant role, research is done to study the effect these slags have on the environment.

Thus millions of tons of slag are preventively disposed on landfills, although slags have been applied for decades in civil engineering (e.g. in the Netherlands) without causing environmental damage in almost any case. However, some governments have doubts regarding the environmentally beneficial re-use of steel slags. These doubts are based on the total content of elements like chromium, vanadium, molybdenum or fluorine which might have a negative effect when released into the environment. However, the total content is not a good parameter to estimate the release of substances from these materials.

More research
Therefore further research is needed to show that these contaminants are bound in stable minerals (or can be purposeful trapped into them during the production) and are thus not released into the environment. This is the aim of the project “MiLeSlag - Mineralogy and Leachability of Steel Slags” (Fig. 1) which is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

(Fig. 1)

ECN's involvement
ECN contributes to this project as a scientific partner in the field of hydrogeochemical modelling using the in-house LeachXS/Orchestra software and by hosting two guest scientists from Montanuniversität Leoben. This project will strengthen the international network of ECN and expand the application range of ECN´s software in industry (e.g. from the steel industry) and academia.

Project results
The results of the project will allow a sustainable re-use of steel slags in road construction in two respects: 1. The release of contaminants into the environment will be reduced. 2. Mining of primary resources with its negative concomitants can be avoided because they can be substituted by slags as resource-efficient building materials.

More information & contact
For more information about MiLeSlag, please contact us. More information about our services on environmental assessments, you will find on our expertise page.

Category: Corporate, Engineering & materials, Environment, Energy efficiency