Critical review of applications of iron and steel slags for carbon sequestration and environmental remediation

  • Krishna R. ReddyEmail author
  • Archana Gopakumar
  • Jyoti K. Chetri
Review Paper


One of the major concerns faced by the iron and steel industry, other than the abundant emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, is the huge quantity of slag that is generated during the manufacturing of iron and steel. A comprehensive understanding of the iron and steel slag properties has diverted them away from stockpiling or landfilling to useful engineering applications. The similarity of these slags to natural minerals used in geologic carbon dioxide sequestration has made them sustainable alternative for industrial-scale carbon capture and storage. Further, they possess properties that are conducive for remediation of soil and groundwater contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. This paper reviews the iron and steel slag characteristics suitable for engineering applications, describes several engineering application examples, and discusses challenges and opportunities to develop practical applications using iron and steel slags. This paper also discusses the on-going research which explores the use of steel slag along with the biochar-amended soil to develop a biogeochemical landfill cover to sequester fugitive gas emissions such as CH4, CO2 and H2S from MSW landfills and attain zero-emissions landfill.


Iron and steel slag CO2 sequestration Environmental remediation Sustainability Landfill cover Biogeochemical cover MSW Zero-emissions landfill cover 



Acid mine drainage


Acid volatile sulfide


Alkaline industrial wastes


Biochemical oxygen demand


Blast furnace


Basic oxygen furnace


Carbon capture and storage


Construction and demolition


Dredged material


Electric arc furnace


Emissions trade system


Geological carbon sequestration


Gross domestic product


Greenhouse gas


Ground granulated blast furnace slag


Intergovernmental panel on climate change


Ladle slag


Landfill gas


Liquid to solid ratio


Municipal solid waste


Scanning electron microscopy


Synthetic precipitation leaching procedure


Steel slag fines


Stainless steel slag




Toxicity characteristics leaching procedure


Thermogravimetric analysis


X-ray energy dispersive spectrometer


X-ray diffraction



This project is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (Grant CMMI # 1724773), which is gratefully acknowledged. The authors thank Girish Kumar, Iziquiel Cecchin, Dennis Grubb for their guidance and assistance during this study.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Materials EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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