DOI: 10.2478/rtuect-2024-0004 ISSN: 2255-8837

Assessing the Sustainability Impact of Improving Secondary Steel Production: Lessons Learned from an Italian Plant

Giuseppe Tomasoni, Filippo Marciano, Elena Stefana, Paola Cocca
  • General Environmental Science
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


This work presents a sustainability assessment approach to evaluate technological innovations in secondary steel production making use of Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) technology. The assessment covers the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability by combining different tools (Life Cycle Assessment and Analytic Hierarchy Process), and also provides an integrated assessment of the overall sustainability. The approach, which can also be used to support decision-making, has been applied to a real case study of a steel plant located in Northern Italy. In the case study, environmental sustainability is positively impacted mainly by increased metal yield and reduced furnace energy consumption. The greatest social sustainability benefits are mainly related to improved ergonomic and safety conditions for workers (reduced demand for physical effort, manual handling and repetitiveness, and lower risk of accidents), as a consequence of the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies. Regarding economic sustainability, a positive impact related to reduced cycle time, increased metal yield and quality yield, reduced maintenance and quality control costs was observed. The integrated assessment of the overall sustainability has proven to be a viable approach to manage trade-offs between the different dimensions of sustainability.

More from our Archive