Reducing Pollution in the Metal Industry - By : Substance,
Circularity of metals

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Elmira Moosavi is an engineer with big ambitions. Author and co-author of over 40 scientific publications, she has led numerous research projects all aimed at recycling industrial residue and reducing emissions in the metal sector.

And to get this industry to adapt the principles of circular economy and low-carbon economy, Professor Moosavi, newly appointed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at ÉTS, aims to attract more students to this field and make them experts who will work on both the research and business sides.

Moosavi has more than 10 years of expertise in fundamental and applied research in thermodynamics. Her results contributed greatly to advancing knowledge of solid-liquid-gas chemical reactions for materials and manufacturing processes.

A Knack for Materials

For as long as she can remember, Elmira Moosavi has loved math and problem solving. “I’ve never liked rote learning, I prefer logical concepts that can be applied in practice,” she says. This passion for logic has carried over to the field of materials. “Everything around us is made of materials and I wanted to learn the processes that lead to their manufacture,” she adds.

ÉTS Professor Elmira MoosaviAfter earning a bachelor’s degree in Materials and Metallurgy Engineering in 2007 from the University of Tehran, in Iran, Moosavi decided to pursue her studies at McGill University. Two years later, she earned a master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering.

As she explains, “My master’s project, supported by Natural Resources Canada, focused on different technological aspects of casting ferrous parts into an aluminum alloy for powertrain automotive applications.”

After a brief return to Iran where she worked at a research institute in energy technology, she returned to McGill to complete her PhD while contributing to teaching courses.

The subject of her thesis involved the development of a thermodynamic database for a multicomponent oxysulfide system with a wide range of applications—iron and steel, glassmaking, refractories, recycling, emissions, cement, geology, etc. The results of her research were integrated into the thermochemical software FactSage, available worldwide to thousands of users in academia and industry.

The quality of her research earned her the Bronze Medal on the day of her graduation in 2015 for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field of advanced thermodynamics.

A Committed Professor

After completing two postdoctoral programs—the first at McGill University in 2016 and the second at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology the following year—Elmira Moosavi went to the Netherlands in 2017 as a Senior Researcher at Tata Steel Europe. There, she became involved in various research projects geared toward sustainable operations, while contributing to the supervision of graduate students within the company.

In August 2019, she joined Aurubis AG in Germany, a global leader in producing and recycling copper, precious metals and other non-ferrous metals, and the largest copper producer in Europe. There, she played a leading role in multiple optimization, development and exploration projects such as recycling precious metals, platinum group metals and other rare metals from by-products and wastes in the metal industry.

Metal recycling

With her experience and unique expertise, the newly appointed ÉTS professor intends to help the metal industry recycle as much as possible and reduce industrial emissions to a minimum, radically reducing its impact on humans and the environment.

Moosavi insists, “Our society produces and consumes a lot of products, but our capacity to recycle and revitalize our resources is still too limited: we need to move toward the principles of circular economy and recover all the resources that are wrongly considered as waste.”

In fact, she put her words into action in 2019 when volunteering on the executive committee of the Metallurgy and Materials Society (MetSoc), one of four organizations that make up the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. MetSoc’s mission is to serve those involved in the research, development and application of the science and technologies for the environmentally responsible extraction, fabrication, utilization and recycling of metals and materials.

As a professor, she intends to implement collaborative projects in cutting-edge fundamental and applied research in the contexts of global warming and the circular economy, including recycling industrial by-products and end-of-life materials and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.

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