Measures to reduce the carbon footprint of steelmaking can also help to reduce steelmaking costs, if the situation is right.The use of charcoal has its limitations, it can only be used in small blast furnaces for example. However, for Aperam in Brazil, which uses small-scale blast furnaces and has a charcoal producing subsidiary operating nearby its plant, changing its raw materials can reduce costs, provide a stream of carbon credits and improve its environmental credentials.
SBB 27 July Stainless, electrical steels and special alloys maker Aperam’s Brazilian unit Timóteo has finalized the conversion of its No 2 blast furnace fuel from coke to charcoal, Steel Business Briefing learns from the company.
The mill said last year it would invest R$175m (US$114m) to replace imported coke and metallurgical coal with domestically sourced charcoal in a move that will result in “a total replacement of this power matrix.”
SBB estimates the cost of charcoal is around one-third that of coke, with the use of the former allowing Aperam to earn carbon credits.
Charcoal is used as a reductant in a number of small Brazilian blast furnaces: local fundamentals prevail in setting its price.
SBB 4 Feb 2011 After two consecutive hikes in January, charcoal prices from the midwestern Brazil state of Mato Grosso do Sul are said to be fluctuating in early February depending on buyer location, Steel Business Briefing learns from domestic charcoal producer group Sindicarv.
Currently, steel mills from Minas Gerais state, in the eastern part of the country, are purchasing the raw material for around R$420-480/tonne (US$251-288/t) delivered. This is a decrease of R$60/t (US$36/t) from the R$480-500/t (US$288-300/t) del registered in mid-January. The decrease could be the result of a slight fall in charcoal demand in the region in early February, SBB notes.
Meanwhile, buyers in Mato Grosso do Sul are paying about R$340-370/t (US$204-222/t) del, which is a slight increase of R$7/t (US$4/t) from the previous R$334-363/t (US$200-217/t) del for the local product.
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.