The Steel Eco-Cycle, an environmental research program

The Steel Eco-Cycle is an environmental research program that was carried out during the years 2004-2012. The research results show that steel is an essential building block in society’s striving to shape a better future.

Here you can find the summarised results. These enable the knowledge acquired to be forwarded for the benefit of the steel industry as a whole and sustainable social development.

The environmental research programme, called the Steel Eco-Cycle, encompasses the entire steel eco-cycle. Results from the different research projects are expected to lead to:

  • More resource and energy efficient production of steel.
  • More intelligent use of steel in structures.
  • More user-friendly utilisation of scrap metal and waste products.
  • Environmental evaluation of steel and steel structures from a lifecycle perspective.

Within the Steel Eco-Cycle, the steel industry has collaborated with the mining industry, the recycling industry and industrial users of steel in a unique way. For implementation of the programme, the most important research bodies at universities of technology and institutes in Sweden have been involved. This interaction has enabled the participants to develop leading edge competency in the environmental area and to apply the knowledge acquired in the development of new processes and steel products.

Final reports

The final reports from the Steel Eco-Cycle are published in Jernkontoret’s report series D. They can be downloaded as a PDF file and also ordered in printed format. The links below lead to the corresponding pages.


Two handbooks were also published within the Steel Eco-Cycle programme:

Evaluation of environmental impact of steel and steel structures
Handbook for engineers, researchers and university students. This handbook is also available in English.
Miljövärdering av stål och stålkonstruktioner (pdf, 120 s, 5 Mb)
Environmental evaluation of steel and steel structures (pdf, 122 s, 7,5 Mb) 

Environmental preferences and stakeholder analyses from an environmental perspective
This handbook describes different methods for investigating and analysing popular attitudes towards the environment. Published by Linnaeus University. Only available in Swedish.
Miljöpreferenser och intressentanalyser ur ett miljöperspektiv (pdf, 54 s, 0,9 Mb) 

New knowledge contributes to resource efficient steel production and recycling

The research undertaken has provided new knowledge about how we can increase the yield of iron and alloying elements and how we can retain the metals within the closed steel eco-cycle. The outcome will be a streamlined eco-cycle for steel with lower energy use, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and the conservation – and efficient utilisation – of natural resources.

Steel’s environmental value in structures is much greater than any environmental impact from its production

The Steel Eco-Cycle has, in an original way, tied together traditional research projects within process and product development with new instruments for environmental analyses; methods that can be used to evaluate steel’s eco-cycle in the development of processes and products.

The results of the Steel Eco-Cycle show that the use of advanced steels and more efficient production processes lead to significant environmental improvements at the raw material stage − and even greater improvements on their utilisation in end products.
Learn more: Steel creates environmental benefit, fact sheets

An intensified development and application of new advanced steels is an effective path towards sustainable social development. This has not been examined so far as a promising opportunity in the environmental debate.

Through its strategic research measures, the Steel Eco-Cycle programme has shown how steel’s eco-cycle can be strengthened and how steel’s environmental value can be calculated. The results show that steel is a major building block in society’s striving to shape a better future.


The research programme is funded jointly by Mistra (Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research) and the mining, steel, engineering and recycling industries. The total amount of the funding is SEK 230 million.