Steel suppliers could have an unlikely role to play in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industry – and it’s thanks to one of the steel production process’s waste products, slag.

At the moment, slag is a fairly low-value by-product, but that may all change as researchers at Aalto University have found a way to combine it with CO2 to produce precipitated calcium carbonate, or PCC.

This in turn is a high-value ingredient needed for lots of different kinds of materials, from plastic and paper, to paint and rubber.

Arshe Said, a postgraduate researcher at the university, said: “We are turning the industrial solid by-product from steel manufacturing into a product which is 50 times more valuable.

“Also, this process actually consumes CO2 and acts as a CO2 sink, which benefits the environment greatly.”

The benefits are even greater when compared with the current method of producing PCC, which uses the combustion of large quantities of limestone – and releases CO2 as a result.

And it’s great news for steel suppliers who are working hard to meet emissions targets, as it could help the industry to become closer to being carbon-neutral.