New White Paper Available: The Plasma Processing of Steel Plant Wastes

ABSTRACT

Electric arc furnace (EAF) dusts, have been successfully treated in plasma-fired carbothermic reduction furnaces to recover metal values. Although the technology is equally applicable across the range from plain carbon to stainless steels, historically, it is the latter that has been the more commercially successful. Because the plasma heat source is independent of process chemistry, close metallurgical and environmental control is possible enabling high technical recovery rates to be achieved. As well as recovering metal values, ‘hazardous’ wastes are converted into inert, vitrified products, which not only avoids punitive landfill liabilities (£80 per tonne waste tax in the UK by 2014/15), but the vitrified product itself has end-use applications. The recovered ferroalloy can be returned to the melt shop or, in the case of zinc and lead recovery, sold on as oxide products. The net economic benefit of the technology is typically £100s per tonne of waste, with payback within five years.

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