Decarbonisation of steel in low carbon rail transport networks

Future sustainability in the transportation sector will require and rely heavily on a shift from personal to public transportation; as the main transport solution. Key in this drive will be having a sustainable rail system that is built on sustainable rail infrastructure.


Rail networks are almost unique in the transport sector because they are demonstrably able to deliver a low carbon mass transit and freight system.CO2 equivalent emissions per passenger are at least half when compared to vehicular personal transportation.

Unfortunately within current rail infrastructure, steel accounts for approximately 43% of the embedded carbon; which is the largest material portion. However, rail steel has the potential to be recycled through either the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS), or Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) route. Currently, this unique property of steel is exploited in a limited way due to legacy infrastructure and procedures.

This project aims to work across engineering and business function, both within business and academia, to produce novel experimental engineering perspectives and an optimised ‘true to life’ business model with respect to rail infrastructure.

People Involved:

Jacob Whittle

Professor David Fletcher Professor of Railway Engineering

Professor Lenny Koh Management School, Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Centre

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