The €63m in investment in direct strip casting by Salzgitter in Germany suggests that significant cuts in CO2 emissions can be achieved through new innovative technology in the immediate future. Breakthrough technologies for steel making are fine for the future, but a lot can be done now. Nucor has pioneered such thin strip casting technology (technically known as near net shape casting) and so have a few other companies, but much of the work is still experimental.
SBB 11 March German steelmaker Salzgitter is planning to commission a pilot plant for continuous direct strip casting at its Peiner Träger plant by 2011/12.
The plant will have an output of 25,000 tonnes/year, as reported previously. Combined with an inline-rolling facility it could eventually reduce carbon emissions by about 75% compared to conventional slab casting, Salzgitter states in its 2009 corporate responsibility report published recently.
Initially carbon emissions from the casting elements of the process will be cut to 0.11 t of CO2/t of hot rolled coil, compared to 0.28t CO2/t of coil from a traditional continuous slab caster, it says. Introduction of in-line rolling, in due course, could further cut emissions to 0.06 tonnes of CO2/t of coil. Prior to this second stage coming on stream, the rolling will be done in Salzgitter.
The investment cost for the pilot plant is €63m, a Salzgitter spokesman tells Steel Business Briefing. However, the German government is paying part of these costs as the technology is environmentally innovative, Salzgitter adds.
The new technology has been developed in co-operation with a nearby university and plantmaker SMS Siemag, and has already been tested successfully on a much smaller experimental plant. The cast strip is 10-15mm, and reduced to 2-5mm by hot rolling.