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CESAREF: Concentrated European Action on Sustainable Applications of Refractories

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

The European I&S industry has numerous decarbonisation projects in the works, at various levels of technical readiness, either on the Smart Carbon Usage and/or the Direct Carbon Avoidance technological pathways. By dealing with energy efficiency through new refractory materials and technologies, the CESAREF network will target research topics not presently covered.

Efficiency programs like EDEFU have worked on energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions through new furnace design. Other initiatives are dedicated to steelmaking by enlarging the use of hydrogen based-Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) as feeding material in electric arc furnaces or by developing low-carbon footprint iron production technologies. The conversion from carbon-based fuels to clean burning hydrogen-based mixes is a major change in the industry. DRI is expected to be a major decarbonization lever and offers the potential for truly green steel, particularly in Europe where 70 % of steel is still produced through integrated process. However, the current refractory materials are not designed to perform as well with such new operation practices.

CESAREF will train researchers in multi-engineering areas and expose them to the academic and non-academic sectors through international and inter-sectoral mobility combined with an innovation-oriented mind-set. They will get the right combination of research-related and transferable competences in the full production-to-the-end-of-life cycle of refractory materials applied to Iron & Steelmaking processes with regards to the new operation conditions requested by the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy efficiency, and by life cycle assessment requirements. An important part of the project will be dedicated to the sustainability of refractories, including recycling issues, using the Life Cycle Assessment methodology. 15 doctoral candidates will take advantage of the most sophisticated numerical tools and laboratory equipment to model, design and predict the life of refractory materials in critical operational conditions. Being trained in scientific, technical, and soft skills, these PhDs are the next generation of highly employable scientists and engineers in the refractory sector and related areas. New testing methods and models will be developed to address the Scientific/Technological challenges for these applications and help to design better performing and sustainable refractory materials and linings. The research training is implemented through strong relationships between 10 academia and 16 industrial partners across the EU. The CESAREF network is structured to take full advantage of intensive cooperation between academia, raw material suppliers, refractory suppliers and high-tech metal component producers with a direct link to the FIRE federation