SBB 19 August 2010 ArcelorMittal BioEnergia, which manages the company’s eucalyptus plantations and charcoal manufacture in Brazil, is looking to more than double production in the next five years, according to Elesier Gonçalves, its chief executive. Charcoal output is expected to rise from 2.4m cubic metres this year to rise to 5.2m cubic metres in 2015, he tells Steel Business Briefing .
The eucalyptus forests and kilns are mostly in Minas Gerais state. At present they supply the charcoal, or “bio-reductant,” to two small blast furnaces at Juiz de Fora, a longs plant, and to one of the two blast furnaces at Timoteo, which produces stainless/special steels.
In addition, the EAF at ArcelorMittal Cariacica in Espirito Santo state takes in scrap, and pig iron feed; the latter is supplied by independent producers with their own BFs, but using ArcelorMittal charcoal.
From 2011, the second blast furnace at Timoteo is also expected to use charcoal. And there are suggestions that one or two new BFs to be built at Juiz de Fora will also use charcoal.
The cost of charcoal is around a third of that of coke, SBB understands. The substitution of coke by charcoal can also earn a company carbon credits.
The main issues in the use of charcoal are density, the presence of fines and moisture, company executives say. ArcelorMittal BioEnergia is now taking steps to resolve these. Thus the density of its charcoal is planned to rise from 230 kg/m3 to 260 kg/m3 over the next five years, Gonçalves says.