Baotou Steel Visits Columbia University to Observe a Prototype Technology for Turning Iron and Steel Manufacturing Waste into Valuable Materials

June 19, 2017
Officials from Baotou Iron and Steel (Group) met with Columbia Engineering faculty and toured the lab. —Photo by Timothy Lee Photographers

In late December 2016, executives from China’s Baotou Iron and Steel (Group) Co. visited the Columbia Engineering lab of Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park and Xiaozhou (Sean) Zhou to see the operation of a prototype processing unit designed by Park and Zhou to repurpose slag. The prototype unit is expected to turn wastes of steel and iron manufacturing from Baotou Steel into a wide range of usable materials through a chemical process that integrates the processes of mineral carbonation and rock weathering. The techniques developed have the potential to make iron and steel manufacturing substantially more sustainable, not only in China but globally. Representatives from Columbia Engineering and Baotou Steel were joined by Scott Smouse, senior advisor to the deputy assistant secretary for clean coal and carbon management at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The project leaders have formed a Columbia spinoff startup, GreenOre CleanTech LLC, through Columbia Technology Ventures, and are working on their project's next phase: designing the first commercial pilot plant, which is planned to be 500 times the size of the prototype in the Columbia Engineering lab. That plant is scheduled to be built in Inner Mongolia, China, over the next year and to go into operation by mid-2018.

The visit was part of an EcoPartnership program between the United States and China that was announced in 2015. The EcoPartnership program aims to utilize slag from iron and steel manufacturing in industries, such as paper, plastic, paint, cement, oil, and gas. The Columbia University researchers hope to be able to reach zero-waste by comprehensively using as much of Baotou Steel’s slag as they can.

For more information on this visit, please click here.

For more information on Columbia University-Baotou Steel EcoPartnership, please click here.