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R&D is the weak link in the Indian steel industry - Mr Mukesh Kumar SRTMI

Steel News - Published on Fri, 19 Apr 2019

Image Source: SteelGuru
New Indian Express reported that The Morning Standard’s Sesa Sen caught up with Mr Mukesh Kumar, director of the Steel Research and Technology Mission of India, to find out what ails innovation in the sector and what needs to be done. Mr Mukesh kumar said “R&D and innovations are the weak link in steel industry in India and that is one of the primary reason why SRTMI was formed last year. In the last two years, we identified that a paucity of ideas for research, and not funds is responsible for low spends on R&D. Private firms have spent relatively more than public sector steel firms which were on an expansion spree. Interestingly, PSUs Steel Authority of India Ltd and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd have spent a total of INR 1,017.25 crore on R&D over the last three financial years.”

He said “SRTMI is now in talks with several institutions as well as steel manufacturers to optimize cost, curb imports, improve environmental performance and increase production. We are also looking at a shift in construction from RCC model to steel structure model to increase steel consumption and also to promote green steel to create a better life for everyone on the planet, not just the steel industry.”

Responding to “How is steel industry aiming to go green?” he said “We are investing in research and technology to create new grades of advanced and ultra-high-strength products in order to ensure sustainability as well as to move towards zero waste. Globally, this has helped reduce energy consumption per tonne by 50-60%. Broadly, our main focus is on resource efficiency and circular economy. We are encouraging steel producers to use more scrap as recycling of scrap is more economical and environmental friendly. The World Steel Association Life Cycle Assessment report suggests that for every tonne of steel scrap used to make new steel, we save over 1,400 kg of iron ore, 740 kg of coal and 120 kg of limestone.”

He added “We are also in talks with an Australian company to develop technology where we can recover the entire heat of slags and produce power as well as eliminate need of precious water. We are also planning extensive research engaging several agricultural universities to use the steel slag as fertiliser to increase crop productivity and convert large track of acidic soil in the country to fertile soil. As a result, usage of water will come down consequently minimizing use of treatment plants. Broadly, our plan is to become a self-sufficient country. For that to happen, we need out of box thinking, innovation and research, which the country is lacking in steel sector.”

While answering “Is there a lack of talent in this space?” he admitted “Yes. Most Indian colleges have civil engineering courses but not on vertical steel structure design, which is now gaining momentum. We need at least several thousands’ of expert engineers to popularize steel structure construction and hence, we are in talks with IIT Madras, IIT Mumbai, IIT Kharagpur, IIT BHU and other institutes to bring changes to the curriculum.”

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Posted By : Sanju Moirangthem on Fri, 19 Apr 2019
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