$1 Million Joint US – China Study on Sustainable Steel Manufacturing

Steel Production

A multidisciplinary research team from Georgia Tech has been awarded $549,924 (including an extension) over four years to study ways in which steel production in China can be made more sustainable.  The grant is being awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  It is matched with a research grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to a group of Chinese investigators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and China’s Northeastern University.  The project, entitled “U.S.-China: Systems-Based Approaches for Sustainable Steel Manufacturing,” is led on the U.S. side by Georgia Tech Professors Bert Bras, John Crittenden, and Marc Weissburg.  The Chinese team is led by Dr. Hongbin Cao, Dr. Xin Xiao, and Dr. Jiuju Cai. This study has the potential to contribute significantly to improvements in the Chinese steel industry, where, given its size, improvements can have far ranging benefits - domestically and internationally.

The multidisciplinary US-China team will focus on developing innovative systems-based solutions for increasing the environmental sustainability of the Chinese steel industry.  China is by far the largest producer of crude steel, producing more than half of the global supply.  Such enormous production levels are driven by both domestic and foreign demand.  Steel production has significant environmental impacts, accounting for 6.7% of the total world CO2 emissions, and considerable use of, and toxic discharge to fresh water sources.  In comparison, due to efficiency measures undertaken in the past 3 decades, U.S. metal production is two thirds less energy intensive compared to that of Chinese industries.  The team will have cutting-edge access to the Chinese steel industry as well as eco-industrial parks, in which China is leading the world.  The team expects that many unique insights will be gained.

Focusing on the steel industry will provide immediate benefit to China’s Eco-Industrial Parks (EIPs) and industries associated with steel production.  This project can help develop methods and approaches useful in many applications in both the U.S. and China.  The team will capitalize on the unique opportunity for collaboration between two different countries with different cultures, as well as different steel manufacturing technologies.

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The Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems is Georgia Tech's umbrella organization to promote comprehensive and innovative systems-based approaches to address the challenges and opportunities inherent in achieving a sustainable and prosperous future.  The BBISS enhances Georgia Tech’s research, education, and service missions, and campus operations through leadership, communications, development, and decision making inspired and defined by the principles of sustainability. Programs and projects initiated or supported by the BBISS lie at the intersections of these themes.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the national academy for the natural sciences of the People's Republic of China. It is headquartered in Beijing, with branch institutes all over mainland China.

Northeastern University (NEU) is a public university founded in 1923 in the city of Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China.

From Georgia Tech:

Bert Bras – Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Director, Sustainable Design and Manufacturing Program, Brook Byers Professor.

John Crittenden - Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Hightower Chair, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Sustainable Systems, member of the U.S. and Chinese National Academies of Engineering.

Marc Weissburg – Professor, School of Biology, Co-Director, Center for Biologically Inspired Design.

Hongbin Cao – Professor, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Xin Xiao – Professor, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Jiuju Cai – Professor, State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Eco-Industry, Institute of Thermal and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University.

News Contact

Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS