Sludge generated by the Essar Steel cold rolling mill remains hazardous even after going through the effluent treatment plant (ETP). Collected in tractor-trolleys, at the Hazira steel plant, this waste was being discarded in safe dumps before the Essar Steel Research and Development team came up with an innovative solution for reusing it.
Essar Steel was concerned about the continuous disposal of waste and its potential long-term impact on the environment. As part of the company’s Reduce/Recycle program, brainstorming sessions were held to decide what could be done to tackle this issue. The result: the research team succeeded in developing a technology to produce micro-pellets from the sludge. Based on the success of the lab tests, a facility was set up near the ETP to pelletize partially dried sludge into micro-pellets of 1-3mm, and transport it to the sinter plant where it is now being used as iron-bearing raw material.
By adopting this innovative technique, Essar Steel team at Hazira was able to achieve 100 per cent solid waste utilization. There has been a reduction in the amount of sludge that has been dumped in the last three years: from 637MT in 2009-2010 to 187MT in 2011-2012, thus reducing environmental impact.
The pelletization maneuver has also reduced the consumption of fresh stocks of ore at the sinter plant. This has helped the plant save more than USD16,000 per month in raw material costs and USD15,200 annually in disposal costs.
The initiative also won Essar Steel the Innovative Environment Project Award at the CII Environment Best Practices Awards.