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An ESG Story: An Inside Look at AgroSilicio

A leading ecoproduct, AgroSilicio, came to fruition when Harsco Environmental found that steel slag could be repurposed as a calcium silicate-based product for use as a multifunctional fertilizer that corrects nutrient deficiencies and defends against soil toxicity. This product has demonstrated a new approach that revolutionizes farming practices, helping farmers while decreasing their carbon footprint. Composed of macronutrients and silicon, the product generates greater resistance to environmental stressors such as extreme temperatures or pest and disease attacks. Resulting in an enhanced plant structure, AgroSilicio serves as an innovative product to produce high-quality ecological harvest.  

Recently, Angela Villela, Environmental Health & Safety Director - Mill Services, sat down to discuss her experience with AgroSilicio. She answers a handful of questions that go more in-depth about her participation in the initiative, AgroSilicio’s sustainability in the steel industry, and what the future holds. Read on to learn more about Angela’s involvement.  

What has been your experience in being a part of this initiative? 

It's been extremely rewarding to work and see the final result of a product we have been producing for a long time. Due to our diligent efforts, it is now confirmed as a completely sustainable product that helps our clients achieve the circular economy that helps meet their goals and targets. 

What do you feel is the true value of this product?  

It holds unimaginable value to our customers, the global community and future generations. Silicon is the second most abundant element in Earth’s crust, indicating an excellent opportunity for our soluble solutions of silicon to thrive within sustainable agriculture.  

How does AgroSilicio contribute to the sustainability of the steel industry?  

AgroSilicio helps the steel industry achieve its environmental targets in several ways. Notably, it allows the agricultural industry to help serve communities by saving natural minerals and promoting plant growth.  

Most ordinary products contain copious amounts of heavy metals that are extremely harmful to the environment. However, AgroSilicio has adopted processing techniques that eliminate risk to plant and soil health. Our product’s capability drives a healthy environment where the soil becomes neutralized from toxic aluminum and, as a result, can achieve successful productivity results.  

What started the partnership with Embrapa?  

We recognized Embrapa’s expertise as a company; their accreditation with agricultural products was insightful to AgroSilicio. Because of this, it sparked the partnership with the motivation to generate successful research and development together. 

Is there still research being done to develop these kinds of solutions further? 

Yes. Because of various soil conditions, it is necessary to analyze the crop and create a product that benefits the plant's nutritional composition. We currently hold four types of fertilizers and soil conditioners in our AgroSilicio line, but we are avidly working with Embrapa to test AgroSilicio in diverse agricultural areas and plantations. 

Will AgroSilicio be used in other countries outside of Brazil?  

As we constantly strive to transform agriculture, we are also working toward maximizing availability to countries worldwide.  

What does the future hold for AgroSilicio?  

AgroSilicio will continue to be successful in bringing a sustainable solution to steel-making byproducts and, in turn, providing improved farming. It’s fulfilling for all of Harsco Environmental employees and the community to contribute to the environment in such a meaningful way.