Can Material Passports lower financial barriers for structural steel re-use?

Anse Smeets, Ke Wang, Michał P. Drewniok

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


The building and construction sector is responsible for more than half of global steel consumption. Recycling is common practice. Yet, this is an energy intensive process, even when using the best currently available technology. A strategy that avoids energy use for remelting and significantly reduces negative environmental impacts is re-use. Steel element re-use is technically feasible and economically attractive in certain cases. However, re-use rates in the UK remain low. Cost and timing are identified to be among the main barriers for re-use across the structural steel value chain. Re-used steel is estimated to be about 8-10% more expensive than new steel, taking into account all required reconditioning processes. This study investigates how data/information services like BAMB Material Passports can facilitate structural steel re-use in the UK by lowering financial barriers. It shows that relevant data has the potential of reducing costs in sourcing, testing, reconditioning and fabrication, ranging from 150-1000 /t, depending on the re-use path followed (remanufacture or direct re-use of elements/structures). Key stakeholder groups are stockists and fabricators, which will be both the suppliers and customers of the data. It should be noted that data alone is not sufficient to overcome all barriers. Next to shortening or vertical integration of the supply chain, value redistribution across the chain can align incentives of different stakeholders. Regulations and perceptions (on quality) also play a key role. Finally, reversible design/design for dismantling can be a game changer in the transition towards more structural steel re-use, since it can significantly reduce deconstruction costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012006
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2019
EventSBE 2019 Brussels - BAMB-CIRCPATH: Buildings as Material Banks - A Pathway For A Circular Future - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 5 Feb 20197 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 642384.

Publisher Copyright:
© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Can Material Passports lower financial barriers for structural steel re-use?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this