Sustainability has been a hot topic in a wide variety of industries in the last few years. With the carbon neutrality becoming a more controversial topic every single year, sustainability and carbon emissions are being looked at increasingly more as the years go by.
In the steel industry, the use of stainless steel versus carbon steel has always been a topic for debate, but with the focus of the industry on sustainability and going “green” , there has been a transition with the increased use of stainless steel across a variety of industries.
Eco-Friendly, Stainless Steel Production
One difference between carbon steel and stainless steel production is that of the melting process. In stainless steel production, electric arc furnaces (EAF) have been used for decades. This differs from carbon steel production which just implemented this technology in recent years. The electric arc furnace process uses less energy and uses scrap material rather than virgin iron ore for melting. This reduces the overall emissions of the melt shop. In stainless steels, the alloying elements such as chromium and nickel are key due to the re-melting of scrap.
The three R’s (Recycle, Reduce and Reuse), are an important rule to remember with stainless steel and its eco-friendly production methods. Stainless Steel is 100% recyclable and is made with zero waste production methods. CO2 emissions are reduced in the production of stainless steel. Stainless steel products are durable and reusable. With laser welding specifically, the raw materials used are from approximately 90% recycled material of which 80% is from post consumer content.
Stainless Steel’s Sustainable Advantages
Stainless steels are sustainable, durable, and designed to last a lifetime. When the correct alloy is selected, there is no coating process needed as opposed to carbon steel. This saves process time, costs and CO2 emissions. Since this material doesn’t have to be coated, it allows the material to be 100% recyclable without any pretreatment.
Architects and engineers can even design using high strength stainless steels like duplex, which has double the yield strength as the commercial stainless grades of 304 and 316. This allows you to design using thinner material for lightweight designs. Using less material correlates with using less carbon emissions as well. Duplex stainless is commonly used in the storage tank industry or applications where high strength and corrosion resistance are required. Studies by producing mills have even shown that the use of 2205 duplex stainless steel instead of coated carbon steel, has a potential 60% reduction of total CO2 emissions.
Stainless Structurals can produce a variety of profiles in Stainless Steel. This includes both standard structural shapes as well as custom profiles. The more common shapes include beams, channels, angles, tees and hollow structural steel. All of these are available in many different stainless steel alloys or finishes, including polishing. Contact our team today for more information on the sustainable steel solutions we can provide for your project design.