The company’s quality-assured products and services create sustainable value for customers and partners, as well as long-term profitability for the Group. The efficient and innovative management of resources helps to strengthen customers’ sustainability efforts and benefits society as a whole. The Group’s unique research and development work is an asset to the value creation of tomorrow. This is carried out in collaboration with customers, universities and other partners, in order to develop and deliver solutions that contribute to a circular economy.
Recycling has a decisive role to play in circular economics, as well as creating value throughout the entire lifecycle of materials - from product design to the return of raw materials into circulation for use in the manufacturing industry.
For the Group’s recycling companies, the goal is to find the most resource-efficient and valuable ways to utilize customers’ waste products and increase the proportion of materials that can be used as new raw materials. This offers overall environmental benefits, while helping to achieve customers’ environmental goals and increasing their profitability. During the financial year, the Group inaugurated the most modern recycling facility in the Nordic countries. The Stena Nordic Recycling Center is the result of comprehensive processing developments that enable customers’ resources to be utilized more efficiently than ever before.
In the 2016/2017 financial year, focus has increased on getting more involved in customers’ value chains. In order to achieve this, several new services have been introduced. Stena Recycling in Sweden has set-up its new Sustainable Business department in order to support customers’ sustainability projects. In collaboration with customers, waste management is optimized by realizing previously hidden value. This reduces waste, improves working conditions, saves time, frees up space and increases the overall value of their waste. The Design for Recycling service offers disassembly analyzes and advice on how to make products more easily recyclable in the design and construction phases.
Stena Oil is collaborating with its customers to meet the new Sulfur Directive, which comes into force in 2020, and has developed a new type of fuel that meets local conditions. The company is working with oil companies in the development of a low-sulfur oil product that will meet future global requirements.
Stena Aluminium develops and customizes alloys in collaboration with its customers to meet their needs and those of their customers. Through its own testing operations, raw materials are quality-assured and validated for alloy production. During the year, a preliminary study was initiated to produce alloys for structural components from recycled raw materials. Structural components, such as those used in vehicles, must be able to withstand rapid impacts.
Reuse forms an important part of the circular economy and waste hierarchy. In dialogue with customers who supply electronic waste to Stena Technoworld, new reuse initiatives are being developed. During the year, customers have been found for reusable microprocessors and other computer components in both Europe and Asia.
Digitalization is providing opportunities to develop new services and increase collaboration with customers. The transparency it brings is vital to the circular economy, as the ability to share information makes it possible to deepen our understanding of customers’ businesses and contribute to their sustainability efforts. Many of Stena Recycling’s customers use a customer portal that provides waste statistics, among other features, and gives an overview of their waste streams. This information provides a foundation for their strategic improvement work.
In 2016, a company called New Ventures was formed to identify and develop new business opportunities - many of them designed to meet specific customer needs. The first of these is Repur markskiva (ground sheet), an insulation and dehumidification product used in the construction industry. Repur is made from recycled polyurethane extracted from end-of-life refrigerators and is one example of the important work being undertaken to transform waste into useful products.
One example from Stena Recycling is ProFuel. This energy-rich fuel is manufactured from a waste fraction that was previously difficult to recycle and was often deposited on landfill sites. ProFuel, delivered in pellet form, can be used in energy-intensive manufacturing processes, as a replacement for fossil fuels, or in the production of district heating and electricity. During the financial year, Heidelberg Cement carried out tests using ProFuel, which will potentially help them achieve their sustainability goals. Large-scale testing has been carried out at Chalmers University of Technology in order to research the potential of ProFuel as a raw material in the manufacture of new plastics.
Stena Aluminium is also finding new uses for waste that was previously sent for landfill. Slag, from liquid aluminium manufacturing, is now converted, by rapid cooling, into a substance called synthetic slag, which can be used in steel production. Rapidly cooling the slag has other environmental benefits as more aluminium can be extracted from it.
New products and materials are not only challenging for manufacturers, they also make demands on recycling companies. By analyzing trends, it is possible to develop recycling methods that will meet future needs and create even more value. Collaborating with colleges and universities is the key to finding these solutions. Stena Metall undertakes research projects with a number of leading institutions, often in tandem with its customers.
The research platform developed by the Stena Metall Group and Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2016/2017. The professorship in industrial recycling at Chalmers is a unique collaboration that employs two professors and ten PhD students in a variety of projects.
Supplying high-quality, customer-specific products and services is a priority in all Stena’s business areas. The work begins with customers and in their need for quality products and services.
Stena’s recycling companies offer customers the security of monitoring material throughout the whole chain. Stena Recycling and Stena Aluminium have their own laboratories that develop new solutions and ensure specific customer requirements are met. Improving the laboratory work is an ongoing project at the Stena Nordic Recycling Center.
For the customers of the sales company Stena Metal International, precise material specification is vital. The company ensures that customers receive products that exactly fulfill their requirements. Customer collaboration is continuously developed through frequent dialogue and follow-up.
In order to expand its expertise in specific material types, Stena Recycling has established a number of material centers around Sweden in 2016/2017. These concentrate expertise in the inherent characteristics of different materials, as well as logistics and technology. Having large quantities of material in one place enables investment in improved technology and thus increased material value. For example, aluminium can be supplied in a grade for direct use in primary works, which helps customers achieve their sustainability goals by using more recycled raw material. Stena Components supply industrial components to millimeterprecise specifications at the exact moment customers require them. During the year, the company invested in robot technology and worked to further refine its processes.
Stena Aluminium and several recycling companies invested in new material halls during the year. When material is stored indoors, it is protected from moisture and temperature differences, which makes it easier to use in smelting furnaces and recycling processes.
Stena Stål, among others, has developed its digital services during the financial year. It has made the ordering process easier, while transportation has been optimized with increased focus on just-in-time deliveries. In 2017, Stena Stål began testing block chain technology as a means of verifying the authenticity of the products that the company supplies.