Hyundai Steel, the steelmaking and iron mill affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, is accelerating efforts for carbon neutrality, as illustrated by its recycling of coffee grounds, cow dung, and waste sludge from semiconductor manufacturing.
The firm signed a memorandum of understanding with Incheon Metropolitan City last month, to cooperate in a study whereby used coffee grounds in the city will be used to reduce odors from animal waste at farms. They will be sent to a North Gyeongsang branch office of the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, a state-run research organization.
Data from the organization showed that coffee grounds can reduce animal waste odors by 95%.
Korea imports about 150,000 tons of coffee beans every year, but only 0.2% of them are used to extract coffee. The remaining 99.8% are thrown away in landfills.
Hyundai Steel, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation agreed to begin using dung in steel manufacturing before the year’s end.
Korea produces about 22 million tons of cow dung every year, accounting for over 2 million tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Most are used as fertilizer.
However, alternative utilization will see 4 tons of dung being recycled to make 1 ton of blast furnace fuel.
The last feat was achieved jointly by Hyundai Steel, global tech giant Samsung Electronics and POS Ceramics, a local industrial by-product processor and recycler.
The three have developed a new technology that can reuse wastewater sludge from semiconductor manufacturing as input material for steel manufacturing.
The sludge contained fluorspar, a common raw material used in ironmaking and steelmaking.