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India-born engineer honoured for `green steel' technology PDF Print E-mail

© Neena Bhandari, Business Standard, India

India-born engineering professor Veena Sahajwalla, whose research led to commercialisation of the world’s first “green steel” manufacturing process, was honoured with the Nokia Innovation Award at the 2011 Telstra NSW Business Women’s Awards here on Friday.

Sahajwalla, director at the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at The University of New South Wales, is helping the materials industries combat environmental challenges with a technology that reduces carbon emissions and uses recycled rubber tyres that would otherwise go to landfills in electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking.

Growing up in Mumbai, Sahajwalla didn’t think of anything as waste. “In India, we used and recycled just about everything.” Values ingrained at an early age have paid off. Thus the use of recycled rubber tyres as a partial replacement to coal-based carbon for EAF steel making.Collaborating with manufacturing giant OneSteel, Sahajwalla honed a process that recycles rubber into EAF, reducing reliance on coke.

The process requires less electricity and reduces the amount of rubber waste that ends up in landfill. The patented use of recycled rubber in EAF steelmaking has the potential to transform production globally.

According to Sahajwalla, about 40 per cent of the world’s steel production already takes place through the EAF route, which manufactures steel from scrap metal. “Steel recycling is a common practice and scrap steel has become a valuable commodity because there is a technology that can accept it.”

It was her fascination for fiery furnaces and rugged conditions that convinced Sahajwalla to join metallurgical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. She recalls IITK as one of the most technically challenging places. “The four years prepared me to face the world and provided a new perspective into engineering and life in general.”

She went on to do her doctorate in ‘Material Science and Engineering’, which focused on how to make metal-based alloys, at the University of Michigan, US. In 1994, professional opportunities brought her and her engineer husband to Australia.

A recipient of many international and national awards, Sahajwalla has been encouraging young people to consider science and engineering as a career path. Along with her research team, she works with many companies across the globe that support her research focusing on sustainability of materials processing, including recycling of waste in steelmaking, lowering of energy in metals processing, iron/steel making technologies, ferro-alloys and non-ferrous metals processing.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any www.india-voice.comcontent is expressly prohibited without the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.


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