Doctoral Network on the adoption of Hydrogen mEtalLurgy In the climate-neutral production Of Steel - HELIOS

DC7: Metal recovery by hydrogen reduction of stainless-steel process residues

Project title: Metal recovery by hydrogen reduction of stainless-steel process residues (WP2)

Host Institution: KU Leuven

Country: Belgium

Supervisor: Bart Blanpain (KUL) – Co-supervisors: Annelies Malfliet (KUL), Jérémy Chaulet (APER), Yongxiang Yang (TUD)


  • Investigate the reduction of a complex oxide mix by hydrogen gas or hydrogen-plasma;
  • To reach at least the same separation ability as standard pyrometallurgical process;

Expected results: 

  • Flowsheet to recover different metals (Fe, Zn, Ni, Cr) through the use of hydrogen reduction of hydrogen-plasma reduction;
  • Determined feasibility to separate the different metals as a function of reduction conditions;
  • Relation between reduction efficiency, residue composition and gas/plasma composition;

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School

Planned secondments:

Host: Aperam; Supervisor: Jérémy Chaulet; Timing: M19-20; Length: 2 months; Purpose: A study of the energy balance of past, present, and future reductants for a circular economy in the stainless steel industry

Host: TU Delft; Supervisor: Yongxiang Yang; Timing: M32-34; Length: 2 months; Purpose: Hydrometallurgical treatment as complementary step in the recovery of H-reduced metals from complex residues

Candidate requirements: 

  • You hold a master’s degree in materials engineering, metallurgy or chemical engineering or master in chemistry or geology.
  • You have a strong scientific background and are committed to high quality research.
  • You want to contribute to the circular economy and use your skills and knowledge to develop recycling processes for steel residues.
  • You are excited about doing high temperature experiments, characterize samples, analyze data and interpret your findings.
  • You are ambitious, well organized and have excellent communication skills.
  • You speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated person, ready to participate in personal trainings, international travel and public awareness activities.