ㅣPOSCO CEO Jeong-Woo Choi volunteers at Gwangyang farm to raise public awareness on slag fertilizer
ㅣThe fertilizer to boost rice harvest and improve soil quality through which POSCO seeks mutual growth with farming and SME communities
ㅣPOSCO’s slag fertilizer to help promote environmental sustainability and corporate citizenship
POSCO (CEO Jeong-Woo Choi) is initiating a proactive promotion of eco-friendly siliceous fertilizer made from steel by-product, slag.
On October 30, 50 POSCO employees including the CEO Jeong-Woo Choi participated in corporate volunteering spreading fertilizer in the small town of Gwangyang near where POSCO’s Gwangyang Steelworks is located. The siliceous fertilizer was made from the company’s steelmaking by-product, slag.
CEO Choi said not only the fertilizer will improve the taste of rice and help boost income for farmers, but it will also enhance soil quality while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The CEO also added, going forward, the company will spare no effort so that the farming communities and small fertilizer manufacturers can thrive alongside POSCO.
POSCO’s corporate volunteering on this day aimed to raise public awareness on the siliceous slag fertilizer — what it does, and why now is the best time to start using it more. Amongst the participants were POSCO’s super volunteers who had volunteered more than 3,000 hours.
Siliceous slag fertilizer is made with slag, which is stony by-product separated from molten iron during the smelting or refining of ore. The slag is then dehydrated or pulverized into pellet-like shapes to become the final product. The fertilizer contains 25-30% of soluble silicic acid that boosts photosynthesis in rice plants; and 40-48% of alkalinity which improves soil quality.
Furthermore, POSCO’s slag fertilizer is expected to improve farm household income, help conserve the environment while seeking mutual growth with SMEs.
Using the slag fertilizer will boost the rice plant’s wind resistibility. The silicic acid in the fertilizer is what makes the rice stem stronger — three times stronger in fact, which leads to the increase of the yield by 10-15%. The fertilizer also lowers the protein content in the rice improving the texture and taste. Another component of the fertilizer, alkaline, prevents soil acidification. These benefits will essentially lead to higher incomes for the farming communities, POSCO expects.
As for the positive environmental impact of the slag fertilizer, the iron ions (Fe3 +) in the fertilizer reduce the methane concentration from the paddy fields by 15-20%. POSCO believes that siliceous slag fertilizer will contribute to the ultimate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 to 1.5 million tons per year. By-products produced during the steelmaking process are recycled, which is what makes the fertilizer eco-friendly.
On October 13, CEO Choi presented the company’s report on the slag fertilizer at the annual assembly of the World Steel Association (worldsteel) held in Monterrey, Mexico. Along with the fertilizer, the CEO also shared the case of POSCO’s artificial reef, also made from steelmaking by-product, slag, which aims to create sea forest helping improve the marine ecosystem. Both the fertilizer and the reef are some of POSCO’s many efforts to seek mutual growth with farming and fishing communities. The cases were well-received by the members of the worldsteel as the solid efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
Guided by its management principle, corporate citizenship, that promotes mutual growth, POSCO is set to support the siliceous fertilizer industry, noting that siliceous fertilizer is one of the manufacturing products by SMEs. POSCO will support R&D activities for quality fertilizers, various promotional activities of siliceous slag fertilizer based on the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) methods while also spreading demands from the farming communities. In addition, the company will pioneer export markets through POSCO INTERNATIONAL, Korea’s largest trading company and a subsidiary of POSCO.
Currently, POSCO is providing slag to eight companies: siliceous fertilizer manufacturer Hyeop Hwa Co., LTD; POS CERAMICS who processes and recycles industrial by-products; and the slag manufacturer Hyoseok Co., Ltd. are some of POSCO’s customers.