Sustainability and circular economy - Why and how for ferro-alloy manufacturing

Rauf Hürman Eriç*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The principles of circular economy in relation to sustainability are discussed along with what can and cannot be achieved by a Best Available Technology (BAT) approach. Metal production processes are driven by the fundamental principles of thermodynamics and transient phenomena. In this context, the importance of physical, mathematical and numerical modelling of processes/reactors used in the metallurgical industry is emphasized as well as their limitations. The example chosen here is the ferrochromium refining CLU/AOD reactor. In this regard, an approach that combines physical cold-water experimentation with mathematical and/or numerical modelling including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is suggested in order to be able to verify the findings as well as to be able to scale up and design the reactors from bench to larger scale, and even to full scale. This concept can be named Physical and Computational Process Dynamics. Using this approach, one can achieve considerable improvements in reduction of energy and CO2 emissions and hence in carbon footprint, and can find ways and means of changing our linear economies into circular ones. Furthermore, BAT targets can well be reached. Is this enough? Or can a completely new paradigm of processing with much lower energy consumption and emissions be found that can be adopted in the mid- to long-term? From a fundamental principles point of view this change in paradigm is changing/altering the governing thermodynamics of the processes. Here comes the use of natural gas for ferroalloy manufacturing. Why and How? Laboratory-scale experiments have confirmed its potential based on the principles of fundamental transient phenomena. Can this be possible on a large industrial scale - can it be used? If we are prepared to put our minds, energy, and necessary funds for further research why not, for we have only this planet to live on at this point in time. Considering all the above and remembering the fact that the ice at both the Antarctic and Arctic caps is melting, which has the potential of even stopping ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream, and keeping in mind too the rather sad state of the ferrous metallurgical industry with respect to its emissions and high energy usage, we ask, to what extent ferroalloys might be affected?

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Ferro-Alloys Congress, INFACON 2018
PublisherThe Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781928410027
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Ferroalloys Congress - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 25 Feb 201828 Feb 2018
Conference number: 15


ConferenceInternational Ferroalloys Congress
Abbreviated titleInfacon
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • Best available technology
  • Circular economy
  • Ferro-alloys
  • Process dynamics
  • Sustainability

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