Steel, the paramount metallic construction material worldwide, is prized for its mechanical properties, availability, and affordability, making it indispensable in numerous building and infrastructure projects. However, when left unprotected, steel falls prey to oxidation and subsequent deterioration, characterized by tell-tale signs of damage such as cracking and rusting, especially in moisture-rich environments.To extend the service life of steel products and meet safety requirements by preventing material failure, safeguarding against corrosion is crucial. In pursuit of this objective, the European Research Fund for Coal & Steel (RFCS) has allocated a generous sum of AU$434,000 to RMIT Europe for their participation in ALCOAT, a groundbreaking 42-month research project.ALCOAT endeavors to develop two novel families of aluminium alloy coatings, offering a sustainable alternative to zinc galvanisation. By harnessing recycled aluminium destined for landfill, this project aims to combat the brittleness caused by iron and magnesium contamination, rendering the aluminium unusable for many applications. Astonishingly, these very impurities make it the perfect candidate for creating a robust steel coating, as they effectively prevent oxide formation.This strategy of reusing existing scrap materials not only sets ALCOAT apart but also addresses a sustainability issue rather than a performance problem. While zinc remains widely used and highly effective in shielding steel from corrosion, its recycling process poses significant challenges. Utilizing scrap aluminium negates the energy-intensive mining and processing of virgin zinc, thereby alleviating the associated environmental costs.The revolutionary aluminium alloy coatings developed by ALCOAT will find application in the protection of wind towers, ships, and other structures exposed to seawater and atmospheric conditions. Furthermore, they will enhance steel sheet products in industries such as automotive, building, and home appliances. The computational modeling for designing these coatings will integrate various multi-scale approaches based on material modeling and molecular chemistry, led by RMIT and the Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2) in Barcelona, respectively.Compared to traditional coating development processes, the proposed procedure by ALCOAT is highly innovative and advanced, promising a significantly reduced development timeline and cost savings. The anticipated benefits of these aluminium alloy coatings include lower corrosion rates, reduced risk of hydrogen embrittlement (common with high-strength zinc coatings), and their lightweight and sustainable nature due to the reduced use of primary raw materials. By contributing to improvements in the safety of steel constructions, ALCOAT aims to become a powerful tool for enhancing other metal coating systems and bolstering the circular economy.