Sorting and Impurity Removal to Improve the Recycling of Steel Scrap from Auto Shredders

Commercially available options and processes in development for sortation of automobile steel scrap were evaluated to determine if there may be a viable method to remove some of the undesirable impurities prior to feeding to an electric arc furnace. This evaluation included industry surveys of current practice and literature, patent and vendor surveys. The issues with sortation relate to the size of the material and the mode of occurrence of the impurities in the scrap. If this method for the reduction of impurities is possible, then the amount of primary iron (along with energy use) could be reduced. Two potential methods were evaluated (optical recognition - machine learning and blue laser diodes), For the treatment of molten steel containing Cu, several alternatives (chemical and metallurgical) were evaluated and two methods were selected for study Theoretical concepts and methods of steel scrap purification were investigated along with details regarding the practical applicability and energy and emissions impacts. This would allow control of alloy composition to closer limits, with the benefit of improving the properties and simultaneously reducing the need for degassing and grain refinement additives.



Sridhar Seetharaman

Professor and Associate VP for Research at Colorado School of Mines and holds a joint appointment at NREL (National Energy Technology Laboratory). He is also the Director for the Advanced Energy Systems Graduate program. He is currently the Deputy Chief Cartopgrapher for the DOE NAWI Water HUB, and the Chairman of Roadmapping for the Secure America Institute. He served, most recently, with the US DOE as a Senior Technical Advisor as an EWQ (merit based Exceptionally Well Qualified Candidate) and was responsible for Clean Water and Next Generation Electric Machines. He was until 2016 the Tata Steel / RAEng Joint Chair for Research Into Low Carbon Materials Technology and Director of Materials strategy for the HMV Catapult at WMG . He was prior to that the POSCO Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the co-director of the Industry-University Consortium, Center for Iron and Steelmaking Research (CISR). He was also an NETL Faculty Fellow working on materials for fossil fuel power.

Erik Spiller

Research Professor has more than 45 years of experience managing research, process development, technology, engineering, sales, and operations in the minerals industries. He has been associated with the Colorado School of Mines through lecturing and conducting short courses for more than 30 years. For the past 12 years he has been an appointed Research Professor, most recently concurrent with working as a Principal Metallurgist (process metallurgy) for Tetra Tech, a world-class engineering company. He contributes particular technical expertise in processing from liberation via crushing, grinding, shredding, etc., through separations using various physico-chemical techniques based on particle attributes such as size, magnetic susceptibility, specific gravity, surface chemistry (flotation), conductivity, leaching and liquid/solid separation.


Zhijiang Gao

Currently a third year PhD student of Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy (KIEM) at Colorado School of Mines. His doctoral research at KIEM focuses on the removal of Cu impurities from shredded automobile scrap, involving physical sorting improved by machine learning and thermo-chemical processing under molten state. He has recently been accepted for publishing work “Applying Improved Optical Recognition with Machine Learning on Sorting Cu Impurities in Steel Scrap” in the Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy. He received his master’s degree in materials engineering from the BeiHang University in 2015 and his undergraduate degree in materials science and engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology (Weihai) in 2012.

Patrick Taylor

A registered professional engineer with over 43 years of experience in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy engineering, research, teaching and consulting. He is experienced and trained in pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and mineral processing. He has been responsible for lab work, pilot plant work, research, and process development for mineral processing and extractive metallurgy processes related to a wide variety of metals. He has authored or co-authored numerous papers and presentations, and holds 9 patents. He has served as a consultant for more than 20 companies and has been an expert witness several times. He has directed research for more than 100 graduate students and post-docs. He has taught extractive metallurgy and mineral processing university courses for the past 43 years. He has developed and taught 10 short courses to industry. He wrote professional engineering exam questions for 25 years. He is active in many professional organizations including participation in SME (Distinguished Member), TMS, ASM (Fellow), and MMSA.

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October 27
- 1:30


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