Digimet validates a new technology for the treatment of steel dust

Digimet Irun plant (Foto: Tecnalia)

Bilbao, Basque Country — Technology-based company Digimet, created by Tecnalia and Kereon in 2013, is offering a solution which combines economic and environmental sustainability. After two years of operation of its Irun plant, the advantages of this technology for the treatment of the steel dust over those currently used in the field have been validated. The objective is to become a world leader in the treatment of steel dust and to turn an environmental problem into a business opportunity.

After two years of work, Digimet has confirmed, on a semi-industrial scale with a 3.000 Tn/year furnace, the advantages of its technology over other alternatives currently used in the field. This is a treatment of steel dust based on a new patented ladle furnace concept. Digimet technology exceeds all current technologies and provides a one-stage solution to the limitations of currently used processes. The new treatment has been presented to steel mills, waste treatment plants, zinc manufacturers and the most relevant equipment manufacturers.

Steel dust is the largest hazardous solid waste in volume generated by the steel industry. Managing this waste has a very high cost for steel mills as it is classified as hazardous waste and therefore cannot be disposed of in landfills without being previously treated by authorised waste managers.

Digimet enables the treatment of steel dust inside the plant itself, independently of the production process, maximising the recovery of recyclable materials and without generating waste. It aims to recover the recyclable metals it contains with a high level of purity and to generate an inert slag suitable for use in cement plants. That is, Digimet will convert what used to be a waste requiring management into a valuable by-product. The following advantages are particularly significant: operational flexibility, reduced size, energy efficiency and modularity. Furthermore, high-purity zinc oxide is recovered purity as well as iron with high metallurgical grade. And all this while operating with zero waste.

To better understand the concept, Digimet has prepared an explanatory video and published in the website.

Source: Tecnalia Research & Innovation