CircNexST News

CircNexST: Advancing the steel industry’s progress towards the circular economy

CircNexST: Advancing the steel industry’s progress towards the circular economy

Dr Gabriel Carmona Aparicio has been awarded a prestigious 24-month Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowship to quantify the circularity of an international steel company’s products, from extraction to service, using the Stock-Flow-Service (SFS) Nexus.

Steel is the world’s most recycled metal, yet only one third of the global demand is met through scrap, thus highlighting the gap between the present reality and the ideals embedded in the circular economy. The latter is designed to increase material recoverability and product optimisation throughout the entire life cycle, resulting in less carbon emissions, waste, and non-renewable resource dependency.

Within the steel industry, leading companies and professional bodies have sought to promote and embody the circular economy to advance sector sustainability. One way to achieve this aim is via a more holistic approach to resource management. This requires the development of alternative conceptual frameworks such as the SFS nexus.

The SFS nexus explicitly highlights the interactions including trade-offs, between energy and material flows (e.g. coal, iron ore), material stocks (e.g. buildings, vehicles) and service provision (e.g. shelter, mobility). Dr Carmona aims to comprehensively evaluate the extent of which the SFS nexus can support the steel sector’s positioning in the circular economy; determine the feasibility of achieving circularity for a specific Tata Steel product line; model future steel availability and demand under various circular economy scenarios.

Dr Carmona will work under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Cullen (University Lecturer in Energy, Transport, and Urban Infrastructure), and co-supervisors Dr. Peter Hogdson (Tata Steel) and Professor Helmut Haberl (BOKU, Vienna). Dr. Peter Hodgson has been at Tata Steel Europe for 15 years.  He leads the Product Sustainability team, which is globally recognised as a leader in material sustainability. During his secondment at SEC-BOKU, Dr Carmona will collaborate with Prof. Helmut Haberl and his team on the EU project “Understanding the Role of Material Stock Patterns for the Transformation to a Sustainable Society” (MAT_STOCKS).

Dr Carmona has 15 years of experience in sustainability research and consultancy. In the last five years, he has led six scholarly papers and co-authored eleven. He has professional and academic experience in top-down and bottom-up modelling of resource use, CO2, and other pollutant emissions. In 2020, Dr Carmona completed his PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). He focused on the stock-flow-service nexus to facilitate a more comprehensive analysis of resource production, consumption, and accumulation.

Photo credit: Christophe Dion