We publish the interview given by Ferriere Nord – Gruppo Pittini.
The slag of steelworks was the subject of continuous analysis and research that led to its transformation into a real product, for which the Pittini Group wanted to register the Granella® brand in 2009 and today it is in fact the first aggregate obtained from slag of steelworks with acertified environmental product declaration . What are the main reasons that led you to this choice?
Since the 1990s Ferriere Nord, the Pittini Group company based in Osoppo in the province of Udine, has developed a growing attention to the reduction of industrial waste, with a view to safeguarding the environment and reducing at the same time the costs of disposal. The virtuous circle that has been generated over the years has allowed the realization of numerous research projects, aimed at the study of possible enhancements of materials that would otherwise have constituted a gap. In this context, the “Zero Waste” project was affirmed, which set itself the goal of exploring possible reuses, both within the same production cycle, and in industrial environments other than the steel industry, of materials that do not complete the process inside the steel.
Among these materials, one of the most significant, in terms of volumes produced, is the slag from the electric arc furnace (EAF). The in-depth knowledge of its chemical and physical characteristics, given by years of laboratory analysis, has allowed us to design and develop the Granella® product, whose performance, in some applications in the construction sector, have proved even better than those provided from the corresponding materials of natural origin. It was therefore evident that the road taken – the valorisation of the EAF slag in product – would have given back many advantages both for the company and for the environment.
It is precisely as a result of the desire to enhance the Granella® product and to continue the path begun with the assertion concerning the content of recycled material, that Ferriere Nord has decided to invest in the development of an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) and subsequent preparation of an environmental product declaration, driven by a twofold desire: to fully understand how the decision to enhance the slag in Granella® has impacted in environmental terms, identifying at the same time possible measures for further improvement; being able to effectively communicate the results of years of research and investment to external stakeholders, giving ever greater dignity to a product that is certainly innovative on the national scene.
To which markets can be destined the use of Granella® with certified EPD declaration?
Granella® is currently aimed at a predominantly national market. On the wave of the green economy that is spreading in the building sector as well as in other industrial contexts, the “Life Cycle” concept is becoming increasingly important, both in green building brands and in cases of green public procurement . In this context, the environmental declaration is a significant added value for the Granella® product. Just think, for example, of the score that can be obtained from a building within the recent Leed V4, simply by using a product with an EPD, or by inserting the EPD among the most recent CAM (Environmental Minimum Criteria) issued from the Ministry of the Environment.