When Zero is not a bad number

by Stefano Colletta
stefano.colletta@tecniche nuove.com

The number zero is generally synonym of something null, the nothingness. In scholastic ambit, then the zero vote is the worst expression of the student’s ignorance. In meteorology, zero is index of cold and winter temperature. Instead, behind the number zero, there is a world, cultures that return and intertwine, and it can even become sign of future development, of growth, of attention to humankind and even to the planet. The number zero was invented around the seventh century by Indian mathematicians and then adopted by Arabs who in their turn transmitted it to Europeans. Zero, the only real number, neither positive nor negative, is son of that part of the world that today is steeply rising. Is it fortuitous that one of the biggest world steel producers, like ArcelorMittal, is partially Indian? The Arabs who transfer this apparently insignificant number in Europe, are back in the limelight, certainly with disastrous news, like those diffused by Isis (even if Isis is not synonymous with Islam), but also with a strong production of aluminium, for instance, in the United Arab Emirates, or in Egypt in the next future. The land of Pharaohs is preparing, along the banks of the Suez Channel, one of the biggest industrial establishments in the area, at the service of about one billion people. Engineering, primarily headed by the automotive industry, the metallurgic sector, the energy field with the development of power plants for the renewable production, constructions and infrastructures will be the drivers of the new Egypt. Beware, anyway, because rising Countries’ trend will be to rely on their own Zero-kilometre iron and steel industry. They will tend to independency and this will compel several developed nations to reduce their productive capacity. To hinder these phenomena, we should innovate our enterprises, our products and stake on new issues. Here are the “Zero Waste” approach programmes, that is to say the reduction of energy consumptions through the recycling of scraps through technologies with a lower environmental impact. They limit the heat losses and they use renewable energies, succeeding in this way in reducing the problems arising in integral cycle production. Zero Waste as methodology that uses sub-products of the iron, steel and industrial world as well as those coming from other production cycles. Zero Waste as reduction of CO2 emissions, exactly like Masdar City (close to Abu Dhabi) awarded at international level as the fully ecologic city. We are therefore at a new zero point, we Europeans committed to improve and to innovate more and more our iron and steel products and rising Countries, focused on producing a big quantity of steel, but not only, to pursue the positive trends like the economic and demographic ones and the trend oriented to the awareness of environment and of natural energy resource management. There is work for all, for all those who will be able to seize it.

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