Port Kembla

The University of Wollongong (UoW) will investigate ways to decarbonise the Port Kembla Steel Works, as part of a 13 month research partnership with BlueScope Steel and the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre.

The site specific program aims to find ways to cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions through new technology and methods at Bluescope’s Port Kembla facility, in New South Wales’ Illawarra region.

The research is important because more than 7 per cent of the world’s emissions come from making steel, making it a significant contributor to the embedded carbon in many buildings.

The budget for the project is $1.8 million, including $924,784 funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and direct funding from BlueScope, as well as in-kind contributions from each partner.

UoW Steel Research Hub director Dr Paul Zulli told The Fifth Estate the BlueScope is leading the project, supported by researchers from the university. 

The research will look at the technical and economic feasibility of a range of smart carbon usage and direct carbon avoidance technologies for the plant. 

Some of the technologies the project will look at include the potential for substituting fossil fuels with hydrogen, as well as utilising gases that otherwise would have been flared off to produce biochar.

The project will run in three phases: the first investigating all available technologies, the second evaluating the potential of biochar, and the third covering research and development and next steps. 

“UOW’s multidisciplinary science and engineering capabilities, particularly in sustainable steelmaking and clean energy fields, should help advance a range of innovative solutions for future, lower emissions steelmaking at Port Kembla,” Dr Zulli said.

The research is in addition to a low-emission steel pilot plant that Bluescope is building at Port Kembla, in collaboration with mining group Rio Tinto, which is trialling hydrogen direct reduced iron technology

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