Tokyo Tech News

9th Satellite Seminar in Sustainable Engineering Technology held


Published: May 24, 2016

The 9th Satellite Seminar in Sustainable Engineering Technology (SET) was held on February 25 and 26, 2016. A key component of Tokyo Tech's Sustainable Engineering Program, the SET Seminar focuses each year on a specific theme associated with sustainability. Under this year's theme of energy and steel production, 61 Tokyo Tech students got the chance to visit JFE Steel Corporation, study the latest steel production methods and technology, and suggest improvements in environmental friendliness and sustainability.

Group photo at seminar venue
Group photo at seminar venue

Before the actual plant visit, participants attended talks on energy by four invited lecturers from the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry and presentations on the latest steel manufacturing technology by two JFE Steel employees.

On February 25, participants visited the 15 million-square-meter East Japan Works of JFE Steel located in Chiba prefecture, which includes iron-steel making and coiling facilities. The students were able to witness molten pig iron tapping and learn about technology used in the hot continuous rolling process, something not commonly shared on normal plant tours.

After the site visit, participants moved to Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu, the venue for the Culture Night event and seminar on the following day. Evening activities kicked off with participants from 17 countries giving presentations on their cultures, displaying the diverse nature of the seminar. As the evening turned into night, the students continued with group work in preparation for their presentations on sustainability scheduled for the following day.

2016 SET students at JFE Steel Corporation
2016 SET students at JFE Steel Corporation

On the second day, nine groups presented their solutions to specific problems in sustainable steel manufacturing. Issues were approached from a variety of angles as participating students came from very different fields. Groups also got creative with their presentation methods to more effectively engage the audience. One group simulated a television broadcast to convey their solution, while another used a conference format to demonstrate their problem solving process.

Indonesian students performing at Culture Night
Indonesian students performing at Culture Night

Preparing presentations on the first night
Preparing presentations on the first night

Television broadcast-style presentation by Group 2
Television broadcast-style presentation by Group 2

At the closing session, Dr. Michitake Sato from JFE Steel provided valuable feedback from a specialist viewpoint. The seminar ended with the announcement of the best presentation winners:

  • 1st place — Group 2
  • 2nd place — Group 9
  • 3rd place — Group 1

Group presentation titles

Optimal absorption of CO2 emitted during steel production by genetically modified algae and biofuel generation
Manufacturing steel with limited energy
Electricity generation from steel works
Application of geothermal energy in steel industry
Steel housing
Making energy from CO2 -Convert greenhouse gas to future energy-
Sustainable environmental complex for steel industry
Reduction of zinc consumption with enhanced corrosion protection using electroless nickel deposition in hot dip galvanization
CO2 emission from steel maker and its reduction

Comments from participating student
Tomomi Sugiyama, Materials Engineering

As everything from the pre-visit lectures to the final presentations at the seminar was conducted in English, and with the constant flurry of questions from the proactive international participants, I often felt like I was at a university seminar overseas. It was a truly stimulating experience for all of the Japanese students who participated. I want to express my thanks to the professionals from Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry and JFE Steel corporation who helped us throughout the event.

Report on plant visit from teaching assistant
Vincent Irawan, Metallurgy and Ceramics Science

Iron and steel have long been known as important materials for the development of human civilization. However, these advantages are diminished by the energy-voracious processes to obtain these materials such as reducing iron oxides and cleaning pig iron with a blast furnace and basic oxygen steel making. Thus, to impart environmental awareness to new students, a site visit was carried out at JFE Steel, Chiba Plant, on February 25 and 26, 2016.

The Chiba factory consist of plants for iron-steel making and a coiling plant. First, iron oxides, flux, and cokes were discharged to the blast furnace. After that, the resulting iron (called pig iron due to its high impurity content) was moved into the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) in order to be converted into steel, but beforehand steel scraps were discharged into the BOF. According to JFE, this is carried out to recycle steel and protect the furnace. Finally, the resulting steel was continuously poured to form a thick, bed-like structure called a slab. These slabs were then rolled in hot conditions to prevent cracking and to form a thinner product. At this point, these steel plates enter the cold rolling process, in order to be wound up into coil. However, due to the limited capacity of the cold rolling process, these steel plates were piled up outdoors. One interesting aspect of JFE Steel technology is the hot continuous rolling process. Engineers pointed out that other steel making plants were often used to separately heat and roll the slab in different batches, which increased energy and time consumption. In the end, JFE introduced the technology used to concurrently heat and roll the slab.


Jiro Takemura
Associate Professor, School of Environment and Society