Cleaning Up After the Steel Industry: Abengoa Invests in Industrial Recycling in Turkey

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A subsidiary of renewable energy and clean tech provider Abengoa will invest around $120 million to build two steel dust recycling plants in Turkey whose combined 200-ton capacity would be enough, operating at full capacity, to turn just over 40% of Turkey’s steel dust, currently a waste product, into an exportable by-product. Along with reducing the negative environmental impact of making steel, the project is projected to create some 130 direct and 200 indirect jobs, as well as export earnings.

steel mill
Steel Mill Photo Credit: Payton Chung (CC BY 2.0 license)

“The facilities will be designed and operated using the safest and most environmentally-friendly technologies in order to recycle steel dust, a hazardous waste generated in production of steel from electric arc furnaces, and therefore minimizing land-filling. Today the production of this waste in Turkey is approximately 500,000 tons per year,” the Seville-based group announced.

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From Steel Waste to Exportable By-Product

The investment is being made by Befesa, Abengoa’s industrial residue recycling division, and Canada’s Silvermet, its joint venture partner in Turkey, who have been working with the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) on the project since 2011. They expect the two steel dust recycling plants to be up and running in 2H 2014.

“This investment is very important not only for bringing technology, creating employment and contribution to Turkey’s export, but also contribution to the environment,” M. Ilker Ayci, ISPAT’s president commented. “Befesa has added Turkey to its existing operations in Germany, France, UK, Spain and Sweden. We are proud to win this investment for our country.”

Located in Izmir and Adana, an area with a concentration of Turkey’s steel producers, the two plants will have the capacity to process 110,000 tons of steel dust per year, turning it into 80,000 tons of Washed Waelz Oxide, a final product that’s rich in zinc for which there’s a global market, Abengoa’s press release explains. Befesa already operates one 60,000-ton steel dust recycling plant in Turkey.

Befesa’s obtaining the environmental and construction permits required to proceed with construction of the two steel dust recycling plants, which it plans to finance with a combination of equity from its JV with Silvermet and debt from Turkish banks. Coincidentally, it’s moving forward with detailed engineering and procurement plans, Befesa CEO Javier Molina stated.

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