SUSgoods: How Does Stainless Steel Improve Modern Life?
Stainless steel has many environmental and social benefits. Stainless steel products enable us to lead a healthier life and are cleaner for the environment as well. Even though it is impossible to demonstrate all areas where it is beneficial, below are some of the main examples where stainless steel is used.
Air emissions are always a problem in today’s moving world, where pollution is of such high importance. The greater influx of cars on the road, planes in the air and production factories all add to the problem. The effect of increased levels of ‘greenhouse gases’ on climate change is maybe the most debated example although pollutants which cause ‘acid rain’ are also worth noting. Ways in which stainless can help reduce this problem can be:
New catalytic converters use stainless steel for the holding and transportation of catalytic substances. The newest versions are much lighter and stronger than traditional ceramic versions as well as being much more energy efficient. Catalytic substances are usually highly corrosive and are active within a high temperature environment, thus being the reason for stainless steel being the chosen material. These stainless steel converters help to decrease pollution on motor vehicles, generator sets, forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses and trains etc.
Reduction in the use of fossile fuels
· Stainless steel can be used in the manufacture of condensing boilers. Condensing boilers are today’s most energy efficient heating method, with a 100% efficiency rating. Stainless steel is required because of the condensation that occurs during the process; therefore corrosion resistance is of high importance.
· Fuel cells are a source of energy for the future. Much like a battery the fuel cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Working from either natural gas or hydrogen, they generate heat and electricity with only one emission; water. Stainless steel is used for supporting the electrodes which are stronger, easier to manufacture and cheaper than ceramic versions. Fuel cells can be used in a variety of places including in cars and in domestic heating systems alike.
Keep water clean
It is so important that water is kept clean, not just for our health but for the environment as well. Stainless steel can be used to improve the cleanliness of water. The list below shows how stainless steel can help keep water cleaner:
· Stainless steel pipes for drinking systems help to keep water clean and quality standards high. Stainless steel guarantees lasting hygiene and prevents the formation of any medium on which bacteria can grow. Correct grade selection will minimise the risk of any localised corrosion, meaning there is practically no contamination of water in contact with the stainless steel. Leaching levels of nickel and chromium have also been proven to be less than the maxima permitted by the European Drinking Water Directive.For more information on stainless steels and drinking water
· Waste water plants are using stainless steel in the transportation of waste water products, due to the possible corrosive nature of the water. Stainless steels durability and low maintenance also make it the best material to use. Therefore the reason for stainless steel is to maximise service life and to minimise malfunctioning.
Stainless steel can be used to prevent the amount of waste gases and materials given off, as well as the disposal of waste products. The list below demonstrates some areas where waste reduction occurs:
· Because the composting process releases many corrosive gases, stainless steel is best used for this process. Other reasons for its use include its ability to last over a long time period, therefore making it more economically attractive.
· Stainless steel is being used for the recycling of cardboard and paper, meaning it makes a major contribution to the reduction of the waste steam as well as the protection to trees.