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Optimal Recycling of Steel Scrap and Alloying Elements: Input-Output based Linear Programming Method with Its Application to End-of-Life Vehicles in Japan

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journal contribution
posted on 07.11.2017, 14:21 by Hajime Ohno, Kazuyo Matsubae, Kenichi Nakajima, Yasushi Kondo, Shinichiro Nakamura, Yasuhiro Fukushima, Tetsuya Nagasaka
Importance of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) as an urban mine is expected to grow, as more people in developing countries are experiencing increased standards of living, while the automobiles are increasingly made using high-quality materials to meet stricter environmental and safety requirements. While most materials in ELVs, particularly steel, have been recycled at high rates, quality issues have not been adequately addressed due to the complex use of automobile materials, leading to considerable losses of valuable alloying elements. This study highlights the maximal potential of quality-oriented recycling of ELV steel, by exploring the utilization methods of scrap, sorted by parts, to produce electric-arc-furnace-based crude alloy steel with minimal losses of alloying elements. Using linear programming on the case of Japanese economy in 2005, we found that adoption of parts-based scrap sorting could result in the recovery of around 94–98% of the alloying elements occurring in parts scrap (manganese, chromium, nickel, and molybdenum), which may replace 10% of the virgin sources in electric arc furnace-based crude alloy steel production.