MPI appoints director of steel as part of major £22m research programme

The Materials Processing Institute has appointed Mick Greenfield as director of steel – the first of several key positions created as part of an expansion of its research and innovation activities.

An industry expert in steel production, he will focus on developing internal operations at the Institute’s Normanton Plant and providing support for clients and research partners in the field of liquid steel production and operations management.

The appointment is the first of up to 15 roles being created over the coming months as part of a £22m five-year government programme to revolutionise the steels and metals sector by focusing on improving productivity and environmental sustainability.

The Teesside-based Institute is currently in the process of recruiting a number of other positions, including a manager to drive and develop its Industrial Decarbonisation Group; a process engineer to lead decarbonisation projects; a senior researcher in advanced materials and an Internet of Things (IIOT) engineer to deliver training in the expanding technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.

Mick, who graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Joint Master’s degree in Metals Technology, has held several senior positions within the steel manufacturing industry, particularly in electric arc furnace-based melt shops.

In addition, he has experience of producing the full spectrum of grades from rebar to high alloy for such demanding applications as power generation and aerospace.

MPI chief executive Chris McDonald said: “This is the first of several high-calibre appointments that will further enhance this Institute’s reputation as a world-leading centre for industrial research and innovation.

“The funding has allowed us to create the role of Director of Steel and Mick’s expertise and experience will make him pivotal in driving forward the innovation that will support UK industry while at the same time meeting carbon reduction targets.”

As part of the £22m government award to the Institute by the government, it will undertake several projects including:

• Carrying out research and innovation into low carbon, electric and hydrogen-based steelmaking, scrap recycling and new processes to allow UK steel to transition to a sustainable, green industry.

• The development and commercialisation of technologies in SME supply chains, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, to increase productivity and product capability.

• Develop new technologies for the extraction and recycling of rare metals, such as lithium and cobalt, in the UK – to support a sustainable, secure, and ethical supply chain.

Mick Greenfield said: “This is a hugely exciting and interesting time to be joining the Institute, to be part of a team that is setting the agenda for a new and revolutionary industrial landscape in the UK.”