REGMAX Cleans Up the Stainless Steel Industry
Stainless steel can be a toxic business. During its production, the steel undergoes a process called pickling, in which it is bathed in a mixture of nitric and hydrofluoric acids. After use, the acids are neutralized into a sludge and treated and disposed as industrial waste. It’s not just a little waste. The global steel industry uses 300,000 liters of acid every hour.
Sustainable Technology Solutions (SUSTEC), an Austria-based startup, is testing a cleaner method to handle the pickling acids. The venture is reluctant to release details while putting finishing touches on its first prototype. The gist, however, is that SUSTEC ‘s process REGMAX can recover waste acid, reuse some and convert the rest into usable metal oxides.
“The technology has the potential to remove all the waste generated in the stainless steel industry, since we can create a closed loop of materials,” says Fabian Storek, Founder and Managing Partner at SUSTEC. “The waste is turned into resources.”
The new process confers environmental benefits by eliminating waste, and economic benefits by reducing the need to buy new acids and other materials. And there may be other applications outside of the steel industry.
“The tech is applicable for mining applications, where acid is being used today,” Mr. Storek says.
For now, the first prototype is in its final phase. and another, larger prototype will begin development later this year.
“We consider our selves to be market ready Q2 2019 for smaller scales and larger scales from 2020,” Mr. Storek says.