Sheffield University shares in £35m research programme with UK steel industry

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Dr Simon Pike, Liberty's Technical Director, who used to work for Corus and Tata Steel in Scunthorpe

A £35m research network will see UK steelmakers and university scientists work together on a seven-year programme to transform Britain’s steel sector.

Industrial and academic partners will form a network called SUSTAIN which aims to create smarter, greener and cleaner steel. SUSTAIN is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council who are making the largest ever investment by a UK research council in steel research.

The network is led by Swansea University, partnered with the universities of Sheffield and Warwick.

The announcement is a landmark as it is the first time UK steel producers and representatives from the manufacturing sector have lined up behind a co-ordinated programme of research.  SUSTAIN aims to transform the whole steel supply chain, making it cleaner, greener and smarter, and more responsive to the fast-changing needs of customers.

Its work will be concentrated on zero waste iron and steelmaking, aimed at making the industry carbon-neutral by 2040, and on smart steel processing based on more intelligent uses of data to find ways to make industry’s processes and products even greener, such as harvesting untapped energy sources, capturing carbon emissions and re-processing societal and industrial waste streams.

It is projected to:

  • Double UK steel manufacturers’ gross value added (GVA) by 2030
  • Boost jobs in the industry to 35,000
  • Increase productivity by 15%

Dr Simon Pike, technical director at steelmaker Liberty, said: “We’re proud to be involved in this flagship programme which will help make Britain a leader once again in the global steel industry. This initiative fits perfectly with Liberty’s GREENSTEEL vision and with our commitment to the development of a new-generation of steels, including our own latest initiative to create new powder metal alloys suitable for Additive Manufacturing. We look forward to working with leading scientists and engineers from across the country to make SUSTAIN a big success.”