Anyone who has seen pictures of the giant, red-hot cauldrons in which steel is made — fed by vast amounts of carbon, and belching flame and smoke — would not be surprised to learn that steelmaking is one of the world’s leading industrial sources of greenhouse gases. But remarkably, a new process developed by MIT researchers could change all that.
The new process even carries a couple of nice side benefits: The resulting steel should be of higher purity, and eventually, once the process is scaled up, cheaper. Donald Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT and senior author of a new paper describing the process, says this could be a significant “win, win, win” proposition.
Looks pretty fun.
Molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) is an electrometallurgical technique that enables the direct production of metal in the liquid state from oxide feedstock.
You certainly can do that: whether you want to or not becomes an economic question. And that\’s what they\’re working on, how to make it economic.
However, what ever so slightly grates is that steel is just the one product that you cannot make in a \”carbon free\” manner. You can make iron, most certainly, and that\’s what they\’re actually doing here. But you cannot make steel: for steel is an alloy of iron and carbon (or amalgam, mixture, if you prefer).
I know the researchers wouldn\’t really make that mistake but they might when describing matters colloquially. Or the PR guy perhaps.