Tokyo Olympics to show Japan’s advanced recycling-oriented socie


写真Mr. Gaku Ito, Manager of Steel Plate Development Division in Sales Department of Tokyo Steel, a member of Car to Car Project asked participants “to realize Car to Car by recycling scraps collected from end-of-life vehicles to produce eco mobiles including welfare vehicles which are used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

On 27 July, the symposium titled “To make the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games be the eco Olympics” was held by the Eco Materials Forum of the Society of Non-Traditional Technology at the Hibiya Convention Hall in the Hibiya Park near the National Diet Building where the security related bills caused chaos. There, Mr. Ito gave a presentation titled “To make ecomobiles for Olympics with end-of-life vehicles. Tokyo shows the world an upcycling society”.

First, Mr. Ito explained about his company, Tokyo Steel.
“Tokyo Steel is a company which makes high grade steel plates using scraps and discloses all the prices of its products and raw materials. The scrap prices we disclose seem to give the global market an unduly large amount of influence,” he said. He added that there is a sudden increase in the company’s website access at 16:00 every day.

He also revealed casually that Tokyo Steel’s policy to disclose information has led Plattz, an international energy and metal information media to use their prices as an index called TOKYO STEEL PRICE.

Tokyo Steel’s products used to build Tokyo Tower
When the Tokyo Olympics was held last time in 1964, Japan was in a high economic growth period. As raw material scraps were not enough to produce steel, 5 million tons of scraps were imported per year.

50 years later, Japan now has become a mature country from a growing country.
As to ferrous scraps, Japan holds 1.3 billion tons of steel stock and exports more than 7 million tons of scraps per year.

In 1958, Tokyo Steel recycled ferrous scrap to produce angle steels for main materials to construct the Tokyo Tower.
The raw material scraps included tanks used in Korean War.

写真1991 was a year of change
Japan’s total export of scraps exceeded the total import of scraps for the first time in 1991. Mr. Ito said that the year of 1991 became a historic turning point for Japan when the bubble economy collapsed and the country started to shift to a mature country from a growing country.
The ferrous scraps were exported to Korea and China.

Mr. Ito said, “The global production of crude steel had increased, but in fact, only China had increased the production. As the developed countries have grown stagnant during this time and China’s domestic demand for steel fell into negative now, the steel market could have become saturated. In fact, without China, the market has been saturated for more than 10 years.”
However, China is currently at a critical turning point.
“China’s domestic demand resulted in a negative growth in 2014 and the country exported nearly 100 million tons of steel products. Anti-dumping measures have been implemented against the Chinese cheap steel products around the world. Japanese scraps may be used to produce these products in China,” Mr. Ito said.

The world calls for resource recycling
In producing steel, electric furnaces account for 23% in Japan and 60% in the U.S respectively. As electric furnaces consume scraps as main raw materials, the U.S., the scrap generating country uses scraps thoroughly. (*Hybrid steel manufacturers depending on DRI such as Nucore are increasing.)

Many Japanese electric steel manufacturers mainly produce steel products for construction, but it is expected that the demands for construction materials will not increase so much in the domestic markets.
Tokyo Steel is currently focusing on high grade steel plates and trying to produce them using end-of-life vehicles at its Tahara plant which has an annual production capability of 2.5 million tons with the latest technology.

No electric steel manufacturers have ever coped with Car to Car.
Mr. Ito asked why they didn’t do that and assumed that there was something like urban legend as follows.
The quality of ferrous scraps might deteriorate through recycling?
Scraps might not meet users’ (for example automotive manufacturers) quality demands?
Steel plates containing more coppers might be too fragile to use?
Tramp elements might cause problems.

Therefore, excess ferrous scraps left in the basket were forced to be exported.
“But, we broke through these problems like urban legends,” Mr. Ito said.
Improvement of separation was brought by cars’ easy dismantling designing and rising alloy prices.
Steel plates for cars came to be made successfully using OLD scraps.
As with blast furnace, high grade steel plates can be made by controlling negative effects if Cu is less than 0.30%.
Super High Tensile Strength Steel 980N can be made by using elements which ferrous scrap contains.
He said that Car to Car can be realized by the abovementioned solutions along with economic efficiency.

Also, citing the Leaders’ Declaration of the G7 summit held at Schloss Elmau this year (Alliance on Resource Efficiency), Mr. Ito said that “Car to Car is a global demand” and ended his 15-minute speech with the powerful statement written at the beginning “to realize Car to Car by recycling scraps collected from end-of-life vehicles to produce eco mobiles including welfare vehicles which are used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

(Edited by Sasaki)

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