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Intelligent manufacturing, greener processes and environmental production are among the themes that are expected to draw more than 70,000 visitors to the world’s second largest casting metallur- gy event in Shanghai, China, next month (Metal + Metallurgy China, March 13 to 16, p. 13).
While China makes significant strides towards the green transformation of its metallurgy and foundry sectors – not least through its ‘Three Year Plan’ to tack- le air pollution by 2020 – significant efforts have also been undertaken by Tata Steel, and Danieli in collaboration with Tenova HYL, in this field.
The first MPT of 2019 features not one, but two, major innovations that not only tackle the issue of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in steelmaking head-on, but which integrally rethink the traditional blast furnace (BF) route in steelmaking.
At its HIsarna plant in IJMuiden, the Netherlands, Tata Steel has gradual- ly evolved a completely new technology (pp. 40-43) for producing iron in a reactor where iron ore is injected at the top. This could enable future steel production with at least 20% lower CO2 emissions by reducing the number of energy-intensive steps normally required in conventional BF processes. The sys- tem is undoubtedly revolutionary – Tata Steel believes its impact may be likened to the introduction of continuous casting in the 20th Century.
Then there is the Energiron direct reduction (DR) process (pp. 36-39) that, according to Danieli and Tenova HYL, could more than halve the levels of carbon emissions typically produced by conventional blast furnace–basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) mills. Tenova HYL has already taken an order from Sinosteel of China to supply its Energiron technology for a new direct reduction micro-module in South America (p. 6). Going forward, additional advantages may be achieved by feeding Energiron plants with hydrogen (H2).
For operators, Energiron and HIsarna each tick two a crucial boxes. Firstly, they facilitate stable blast furnace operations. Secondly, the solutions are sustainable for the long-term. As Hans Fischer, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technical Officer of Tata Steel’s European operations, commented on the subject of CO2 efficiency in steelmaking: “The steelmaking industry has a collective responsibility to set bold targets, raise the bar and find opportunities to col- laborate in order to drive progress on this front.”
As long as innovators continue to drive forward solutions which are ‘sustainable across the board’ – providing the compelling capital (CapEX) and operational expenditure (OpEX) benefits so crucial for operators – steelmaking can support a greener future for us all.
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