Fluorite is used in the steelmaking process to remove impurities such as sulfur and phosphorus from iron. Calcium fluoride (CaF2), the main ingredient in fluorite, has similar characteristics to semiconductor wastewater sludge. When fluorite is added to molten iron, the CaF2 component often lowers the melting point and removes impurities. Samsung teamed up with Hyundai Steel and Pos Ceramics, a recycling firm, in August 2020 to conduct a joint research project and develop technologies to recycle wastewater sludge.
In April 2021, Hyundai Steel successfully produced steel materials using 30 tons of recycled sludge to replace fluorite in Dangjin some 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Seoul. The recycling technology, approved by the National Institute of Environmental Research in August, can now be used in various sectors to recycle sludge, Samsung said in a statement on September 27.
With the technology, Hyundai Steel can reduce the cost of purchasing fluorite. South Korean steelmakers rely entirely on imports from South America and China. The steelmaker imports about 20,000 tons of fluorite annually and plans to replace about 10,000 tons with recycled sludge as early as the end of October 2021.
"In an effort to strengthen Samsung's ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) management, we will continue to develop eco-friendly resource circulation technology to accomplish 100 percent waste recycling rate," Samsung Electronics' device solutions head Jang Sung-dae was quoted as saying. ESG is a trendy corporate management method that focuses on the use of green energy and environmentally-friendly operation.
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