Erasteel Recycling on Its Way to Becoming a Major European Player in Strategic Metals Recycling

Erasteel Recycling on Its Way to Becoming a Major European Player in Strategic Metals Recycling

Erasteel is one of the world’s leading producers of high-speed steels, and the top producer of powder metallurgy high-speed steels. Alongside its traditional activity, Erasteel has set itself a new challenge: to become a major European player in the recycling of strategic metals. This involves 3 families of recycled materials: catalysts from oil refineries, batteries and cells, and by-products from the metallurgy (oxides, millscales, etc.) and chemical industries (metal hydroxides).

The aims of developing this complementary activity, which is being conducted by Erasteel Recycling, are threefold:

- To produce 100 per cent of its high-speed steels from recycled metals 

- To bring to market recycled alloys containing high levels of strategic metals

- To offer its customers the opportunity to consume in a “greener” way, thanks to recycling processes that generate zero waste and the use of low-carbon energy with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world

To achieve these goals, the Group has invested close to €25 million since 2015 in order to develop specific processes and dedicated equipment at the ErasteelCommentry site in France.

Following more than 10 years of research and industrial development, plus two registered patents, Erasteel has developed a unique pyrometallurgical process for recycling batteries that simultaneously produces 3 products: ferronickel, zinc oxide and manganese slag. These high-value metals are then reused in our own manufacturing operations or those of other leading European metallurgy companies. This is in contrast to other currentlyexisting processes which enable only partial recovery of these metals. Erasteel is the only company in the world capable of providing recycled ferronickel!

"Erasteel is the only company in the world capable of providing recycled ferronickel"

Over the past few months, our teams have been working hard to further optimize the process and have achieved a recycling efficiency of over 80 per cent. This is much higher than those achieved by other traditional recycling processes (approximately 50 per cent) which have to resort to dumping in landfills.

The Erasteel Commentry site is currently ramping up its battery recycling operations. To support the battery collection industry and enable it to recycle in a more virtuous way, Erasteel Recycling is going to develop a facility to recycle 15 to 20 per cent of the 60,000 tonnes of discarded batteries collected each year in Europe.

Alongside its battery recovery activities, Erasteel Recycling recovers strategic metals such as cobalt, molybdenum, nickel and tungsten from industrial catalysts used in petrochemicals as part of refining processes. As a result of this activity, waste materials are transformed into high value-added products through the production of a range of FeNiMo and FeCoMo alloys. The challenge for the coming months is to broaden the range of recycling processes in order to be able to recover catalysts containing vanadium.

On the strength of these investments and its long-standing expertise, Erasteel is now able to provide a sustainable approach to the growing importance of providing strategic metals, optimizing raw material life cycles and preserving natural resources.

 

 

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