Dominik Wohlmuth joined the recycling and residual materials management team at the voestalpine site in Austria’s Donawitz as an environmental manager in 2018. It’s an ideal professional challenge for the chemist and fan of the great outdoors.
Technical chemistry graduates aren’t automatically recommended to follow a career in the field of environmental protection. But it was his thesis on lithium ion batteries in the automotive industry which gave Dominik Wohlmuth the final push to go in this direction. It first took the 32-year old Kapfenberg resident to the complaints and technical customer service department at Donawitz. And then, two and a half years later, into recycling and residual materials management. It happened like this:
New ideas for reusing residual materials
As the by-products of the steel production process include valuable materials, voestalpine has made great efforts in the field of operational environmental protection. A while ago, this led to the idea of developing alternative methods of reusing blast furnace slag and other by-products. That’s why the department for recycling and residual materials management was established in 2017. It was just the place for a man like Dominik Wohlmuth with his scientific expertise and pronounced environmental awareness. “I was asked, and immediately agreed. Because as an environmental manager I can apply my chemicals expertise in a field which I personally believe to be very important.”
“The job is certainly varied”
Since 2018 Dominik Wohlmuth has been one of the experts at voestalpine Stahl Donawitz GmbH who is playing a leading role in building up the department. The quantity of residual materials going to landfill fell in just the first few months of the department’s existence. “Work-ing as an environmental manager is truly fascinating because the work is so varied.” His duties include not only the operative management of the landfill site, but also research into alternative uses for residual materials, and developing sustainable production and recycling processes. “I’m also in regular contact with colleagues at the blast furnaces and in the steel plant where the residual materials are generated. That means my daily routines are never the same. And they certainly won’t be any less so in future!”
Operational environmental protection is becoming more important
For many years voestalpine has been an international steel industry pioneer when it comes to key issues such as the environmentally friendly use of resources and CO2 emissions. Even so, Dominik Wohlmuth expects that operational environment protection will become increasingly important within the Group.
"In future, both international environmental agreements as well as the voestalpine Group’s own environmental targets will demand even greater input from employees involved in corporate environmental responsibility. And for that reason their importance within the Group will also continue to rise."
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Our path to a green future
We are upping the pace of emissions reduction. greentec steel from voestalpine is Austria’s largest climate protection program. Starting in 2027, this program will reduce Austria’s annual CO2 emissions by almost 5%. 2024 marks the start of the partial shift from the blast furnace to the electric arc furnace (EAF) route—once unresolved funding issues in Austria are clarified.