Enhanced material quality, the reduction of carbon emissions and waste generation, and reduced risks to the supply of critical raw materials.

These are the three principal objectives of a new research initiative involving 10 partners from four European countries, which aims to advance characterisation and modelling methods for the development of green steel technology.

The project, AID4GREENEST, coordinated by IMDEA Materials Institute, will develop six new AI-based rapid characterisation methods and modelling tools for advanced, more sustainable steels.

Its’ scope will cover the steel design (chemistry and microstructure), process design (processing parameters), product design (processing and heat treatments) and product performance (creep) stages.

“The fourth industrial revolution and market demands for advanced steels are driving the research towards transformation of the manufacturing processes and to ever-more sustainable steel compositions,” said project coordinator Dr. Ilchat Sabirov, Senior Researcher and leader of IMDEA Materials’ Physical Simulation research group.

“The conventional ‘trial and error’ approach traditionally used to develop metallurgical processes still prevails in the industrial steel plants. However, it is a time-consuming, labour-intensive process entailing high material waste and associated carbon emissions.”

Developing new AI-powered characterisation and modelling techniques will help to reduce component rejection rates, and thus waste, by detecting inadvertent design flaws earlier in the production process.

This will allow steel producers to avoid the production of flawed steel pieces which must then be rejected and discarded. As well as limiting waste, this will also lead to major cost savings.

Additionally, the tools to be designed through AID4GREENEST will also enhance material quality by reducing defects, lower the industry’s carbon footprint and decrease dependence on key raw materials.

The research activities of the AID4GREENEST consortium will revolve around use cases of three companies: Spanish steel manufacturer Reinosa Forgings and Castings (Spain) and Belgian companies OCAS NV and ePotentia.

Besides IMDEA Materials Institute, these companies will also collaborate with academic researchers from Ghent University and the University of Liege in Belgium, the German Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM and Finland’s University of Oulu.

Furthermore, Germany’s Eura AG will develop a roadmap for the EU steel sector which will define best practices to increase efficiency and reduce environmental burdens at all stages from steel design to product development.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Association for Standardisation (UNE) will focus on developing new standards and manual guides in topics related to the project objectives and based on its results.

The creation of such an international consortium will also facilitate knowledge transfer of the characterisation and modelling data generated throughout the project.

You can find out more about AID4GREENEST by following the project on social media at LinkedIn and YouTube

AID4GREENEST is funded by the European Union through the Horizon Europe Framework Program (HORIZON) for the modelling and characterisation of advanced materials under grant agreement number 101091912.