Posts Tagged ‘China’

Angang to cut costs, emissions with expanded slag processing

Re-using waste from steelmaking carries a number of advantages. The steelmaker has one more product to sell, customers such as the cement industry can reduce their emissions, both can improve thier cost-effectiveness. And of course the re-used waste does not end up in a landfill.

SBB 14 May China’s Anshan Iron & Steel (Angang) plans to invest heavily in slag processing this year, increasing capacity from under 1m tonnes/year currently to 5m t/y by the end of the year by installing four new slag milling units supplied by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Polysius.

This should help reduce input costs and increase revenues for the steelmaker, Su Xingwen of the Slag Development Co. of Ansteel told delegates to the China International Metal Recycling Conference in Beijing.

Angang can currently produce up to 160,000 t/y of >95% Fe iron nuggets and 180,000 t/y of 60% Fe iron oxide concentrates from its slag processing facilities, helping to reduce input costs. This operation generated RMB 1.02bn of revenue last year. The refined iron nuggets are produced using one of Angang’s first patented technologies and can be used directly in the oxygen converter.

Once valuable minerals have been extracted, steel slag tailings can be ground to a powder and sold to cement and concrete producers. Angang produced 1.3m t of tailings when it produced 16m t of steel in 2009. By 2015, when it expects to produce 60m t of steel, it aims to produce 4m t of tailings.

In theory, capturing the 6 trillion KJ of heat contained in the 3m t of slag produced at Angang’s main steelworks annually could also reduce costs by around RMB 100m ($15.8m), Su estimated. Angang reported a net loss of RMB 2.1bn in 2011, as Platts Steel Business Briefing has reported.

Steel use must fall, but opportunities exist: Wellmet

SBB 24 April In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent catastrophic climate change the global use of steel must fall, notes Julian Allwood, group leader of the Wellmet2050 project at Cambridge University. However, there are opportunities for steelmakers to add value and potentially increase margins by producing less steel, he argues.

The global industry has almost reached the maximum amount of blast furnace capacity it will ever need, Allwood says. Increasing scrap supply should mean that new capacity will be primarily EAF-based.

However, steelmakers should also be producing less steel by making their products more material-efficient. Many steel products, such as sections, are around one third heavier than they need to be to fulfill their roles and much auto sheet contains around twice as much steel as carmakers will use, Allwood says.

By working with their customers steelmakers can help to find ways of providing exactly the same products with significantly less steel, and therefore significantly less raw material, labour and other costs. Producing steel with a specific end-use in mind could also increase efficiency and create low-cost premium products for steelmakers to profit from.

Unfortunately economies of scale are working to prevent this. Producing large quantities of commodity products to minimize labour costs currently makes economic sense but is not environmentally sustainable. Meanwhile, making more labour-intensive but tailored products for end users is only economical if a significant premium is being paid for the product.

Perhaps materials should be more highly valued by society and priced higher, one ArcelorMittal executive quipped at Platts SBB’s Green Steel conference in Berlin.

EBRD: Little future for carbon capture in the steel industry

SBB 23 April A critical lack of funding and the high cost of developing and implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) mean it is unlikely to become widespread in the steel industry, senior advisor to the European Bank of Reconstruction & Development, Christopher Beauman told delegates at Platts Steel Business Briefing’s third annual Green Steel Strategies conference in Berlin.

Some funding is being made available in Europe, pointed out Baroness Worthington of Sandbag which campaigns for action on climate change. The European Commission has made revenues from the sale of 300m carbon credits available to CCS projects, with a current market value of around €2.25bn ($2.97bn).

However, the funding is not sufficient to counteract the huge cost of investment. A relatively cost-efficient steelmaker would become unsustainable if it carried the cost of installing CCS alone. The funding in Europe is insufficient and there is even less of it available in other regions, Beauman argued. Furthermore, the funding that is available is focused almost entirely on the power sector.

In Europe the only steelmaking CCS project remains ArcelorMittal’s project at Florange in France. This intends to develop a top-gas recycling blast furnace which will produce waste gases with no carbon monoxide, making them suitable for underground storage. Part the Europe’s Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) project, the plant is expected to generate results by 2014.

There is some chance that CCS funding will become available in China as Beijing has noted that it is a technology it wants to develop in the current five-year plan (2011-2015). However, this too is likely to be focused on the power sector and the availability of storage sites may also be an issue, Beauman said.

Worldsteel chief: ‘combined solution’ key to climate change

SBB 20 April World Steel Association director general Edwin Basson said all industry – and all industrial nations – must be included in ongoing efforts to curb carbon emissions, not just steel.

Basson, in an address during Platts Steel Business Briefing’s third-annual Green Steel Strategies conference in Berlin, called regulations aimed at reducing so-called tailpipe emissions “nonsensical” and said a life-cycle assessment approach is essential in making future strides.

Worldsteel, whose membership includes 17 of the 20 largest steelmakers in the world, believes the global steel industry is already a key player in moving toward greener industrial output, even as it accounts for just 6.5% of all CO2 production.

Basson pointed to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, which required some 83,000 tonnes of steel. “Today, only half that amount would be needed,” due to advances in stronger, lightweight steels, Basson said, adding that water recycled by steelmakers back into rivers and other bodies of water also is often cleaner than when it was extracted.

“Clearly, it is impossible to solve he climate change issue by focusing on the steel industry,” he said. “The future solution must be a combined solution.” Also, any near-term results gained by reducing steel’s CO2 output will be limited. “This is not going to give us results today or tomorrow. We will not halve carbon emissions in the next five years,” Basson said.

Matthias Finkbeiner, professor of life-cycle analysis at the Berlin Technical University, said “hardly any measure is a silver bullet.”

Finkbeiner said the UK’s total CO2 emissions increased by 19% since 1990, even as its domestic industry reduced overall emissions by 12%. The reason: the UK was a net importer of emissions related to the consumption of products made in other regions not as environmentally conscious.

China’s steel industry tops 20m UN carbon credits

Earlier this year, China’s steel industry earned its 20 millionth carbon credit. Projects such as the Clean Development Mechanism have helped steelmakers, especially in China and India, to find financing for energy efficiancy investments. With India introducing its own energy efficiency certificate trading suystem and China looking at various ways to price carbon these kinds of scheme are likely to continue aiding investment. To hear what other factors are driving investment in the steel industry come to SBB’s third annual Green Steel Strategies conference in Berlin on 19-20 April.

Platts SBB 10 February The total number of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) issued to the Chinese steel industry crossed the 20 million mark this week, Steel Business Briefing understands. 33.5m CERs have now been issued to steelmakers globally.

820,320 CERs were issued to China’s Jinan I&S on 8 February, taking the company’s total issued CERs to over 5.9m. The market value of CERs has fallen to around €4/t currently but Chinese steelmakers have mostly entered into contracts with a price of around €7-8/t, analysts tell SBB.

CERs are issued by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism to projects which lower greenhouse gas emissions. One CER is given for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

Jinan I&S earned the latest batch of CERs from a plant it has built to generate power from waste gases at a blast furnace and coking oven at its plant in eastern China’s Shandong province. The plant reduces CO2 emissions by over 2m t/y.

China and India dominate CER issuance in the steel industry, accounting for over 97% of CER granted to the industry. Jinan I&S is the second biggest beneficiary after India’s JSW Group.

CISA: China should delay expanding EAF sector

As the steel industry is increasingly under pressure to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, one obvious solution is toswitch to EAF steelmaking, which emits around a quarter of the CO2. However, unlike iron ore, scrap cannot simply be dug out of the ground. EAF production is therefore limited by teh amount of scrap metal available. This option is therefore limited in teh key developing economies where iron and steel emissions have soared in recent years.

SBB 23 May China should not be considering expanding its electric arc furnace steelmaking sector significantly for the next few years. Chi Jingdong, deputy secretary general of the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA), says it is too early to consider expanding the sector, even though EAF steelmaking is more energy-efficient.

Addressing a recent conference in Guangdong attended by Steel Business Briefing, Chi admitted that EAF steelmaking can help China’s steel industry to reduce its reliance on imported iron ore and to cut its carbon emissions.

But “China’s barrier to more EAF steelmaking is its limited ferrous scrap supply, since the country has a relatively lower accumulation of steel compared to developed countries,” he warned.

Chi further predicted that after 2020 China’s scrap resources will peak and then domestic scrap prices will drop to favourable levels. “At that time, mills may phase in more EAFs to replace their blast furnaces and converters,” he said.

Currently, most Chinese mills prefer to produce steel with BFs and converters due to the country’s tight scrap supply and lower production costs. “Mills won’t find using EAFs economical unless they can get a financial subsidy,” a major eastern mill source tells SBB.

Steel made via EAFs accounted for just 9.7% of China’s total crude steel output for 2009, while the global average percentage was 28.1% during the same period, according to CISA data.

China’s scrap industry to benefit from pollution controls

The steel industry can often benefit in unexpected ways from environmental policy. Here, restricitons on vehicles increase the supply of ferrous scrap. It is worth noting that the vehicles will also have to be replaced with more efficient models, increasing demand.

SBB 21 April More than 400,000 high-polluting vehicles will be removed from Beijing’s roads within the next five years to reduce the city’s carbon emissions, Chinese environmental authorities pledged on 19 April.

The elimination of these cars will increase China’s ferrous scrap resources, Steel Business Briefing notes. Indeed, some leading scrap recyclers in the country have already started to enter the vehicle dismantling field to increase their ferrous scrap resources.

Chiho-Tiandi Group, a major scrap metal company based in eastern China’s Taizhou city, decided to purchase a 51% stake in a vehicle dismantling company in Beijing at the end of January. The investment will give the company a vehicle dismantling capacity of 100,000 units/year.

China Metal Recycling, one of China’s largest scrap recyclers, is also going to set up a scrap processing plant in southern China’s Guangdong province. The plant will have annual vehicle dismantling capacity of 300,000 units when commissioned, as SBB reported.

According to statistics from China Association of Metalscrap Utilization (CAMU), the volume of ferrous scrap purchased domestically reached 51m tonnes in 2010, representing a year-on-year increase of 5.2m t or 11.4%.

“Scrap resources recycled from dismantled vehicles have contributed a lot to the increase, and it is expected that more scrap will be generated by this sector with the rapid development of the Chinese economy in the next few years,” a CAMU official tells SBB.