China produces nearly half a billion tons of steel annually. The resulting steel slag production, the partially vitreous by-product of smelting ore to separate the metal from the rest, amounts to some 40 million tons. Decreasing iron ore resources, coupled with increasing energy costs, have led Shanghai-based Baosteel to find ways to process the steel very efficiently while protecting the environment.
Baosteel’s sustainable development efforts are focused on integrating green management into the steel-making process. This covers procurement, research and development through to production, in order to build environmentally-friendly and harmonious communities.
A key concern for the company is the reuse of industrial solid secondary resources, because producing steel is highly energy-intensive. Ten years ago, the company started developing a technology to process steel slag in its molten condition. The core technology, which cools, breaks down and separates slag from iron with multiple media in a tightly-closed vessel, is highly efficient, clean, safe and resource-saving. Furthermore, many years of large-scale industrial application have proved that this technology makes it easy to conduct magnetic finished product slag separation.
Baosteel, the largest and most modern steel complex with the widest geographical reach in China, has also launched a green procurement initiative for purchasing materials, goods and equipment. The company always uses refined materials to reduce natural resource consumption, and reduces energy consumption and slag generation in the smelting process.
The company is also developing environmentally friendly technology, and improving the effectiveness of its green management capacities through key energy conservation and environmental protection technologies. These include: blast furnace gas dry-process dedusting, converter gas dry-process dedusting, and blast furnace coal injection, among others.
Another key activity is end-of-pipe treatment where Baosteel has developed a full package of water treatment technologies, ranging from Yangtze River water intake to water use controls in production and wastewater discharge. The company is also active in reducing air pollution, including flue gas desulfurization at its coal-fired power plants.
Established in 2007, its automatic monitoring system allows on-line automatic environmental monitoring, on-line information inquiry and reporting, etc.
Baosteel has always supported the construction and development of sites where it runs its businesses, strengthening the development of the regional economy and participating in community activities.
This article was first published in the November 2010 edition of Sustain magazine by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.