SBB 14 November The earliest industrialisation of Hisarna, the smelting reduction technology being trialled at the IJmuiden steelworks, is 2020, Koen Meijer of Tata Steel told the recent German steel industry conference in Dusseldorf. Hisarna is a high risk/reward innovation, he said at the event attended by Steel Business Briefing.
On 18 April 2011 the process, which removes the need for coking and agglomeration, was piloted for the first time. After one failed start three successful attempts followed, and 60% of capacity was achieved for a short time, Meijer said.
The results of the pilot indicate that the process works as expected, though more operating hours are needed. Between December and February improvement proposals will be implemented and April-May next year will be the next campaign. Industrial scale demonstration will be carried out between 2014-2018, according to Meijer.
Hisarna is part of the Ultra-low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) project, which aims to cut CO2 emissions by 50% per tonne of steel produced. Without carbon capture and storage technology Hisarna can cut emissions by 20%, whereas with CCS it can achieve a reduction of up to 80%.
It not only has environmental benefits, Meijer said. Costs associated with coking and agglomeration disappear through Hisarna and you can use iron ores not currently suitable for blast furnaces and non-coking coal.
Steel production accounts for 5% of manmade CO2 emissions globally, and consumption is expected to double by 2050. Further reductions in CO2 need breakthrough technologies, not just energy saving, Meijer said.
In addition to direct emissions from steelmaking, emissions from the extraction of raw materials also contribute to steel’s total carbon footprint. However, this also gives vertically integrated steelmakers the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency across the supply chain. One option is to produce power from mining waste gases, insuating the mining operation from volatile energy prices and reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions.
SBB 28 Sept Vorkutaugol, the coking coal mining division of Russian steelmaker Severstal, will start recycling methane gas collected from its Severnaya mine, processing it into heat and electricity at the 800m rouble ($25m) worth gas generating power plant it is preparing to commissioning in the first quarter of 2012, Steel Business Briefing learns from Vorkutaugol.
The 18 megawatt plant will cover 100% and 70% of electricity and heat energy needs at Severnaya. When fully operational, it will enable Vorkutaugol to reduce its emissions by 0.5m t/y in carbon dioxide equivalent, as well as to save up to 300m roubles/year, which may be diverted onto operational needs and other investments, SBB understands.
Based in Russia’s northwestern Komi republic, Vorkutaugol operates four mines: Severnaya, Vorkutinskaya, Zapolyarnaya and Komsomolskaya, and open pit Yunyaginsky. Their combined output is expected to amount to 8.5mt this year, as SBB previously reported.
New steelmaking technologies currently under development will take many years before they are commercially available. However, in the long term new they will be essential for a low carbon society.
SBB 13 April Tata Steel has commissioned the 60,000 t/y HIsarna iron reduction pilot plant at its IJmuiden steelworks in the Netherlands, Steel Business Briefing learns during a visit to the site. The new technology could reduce both carbon dioxide emissions and steelmaking costs.
The plant, developed under the European Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) programme, will produce hot metal directly from iron ore fines and ground low-volatile coal, eliminating the need for coking and sintering. This would result in a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions. It also means that thermal coal can be used instead of expensive coking coal and the iron ore requires little processing, reducing costs for the steelmaker.
The plant could also use charcoal instead of coal. The use of charcoal would not be limited, as it is in the blast furnace, because it does not need to support a heavy slag layer, SBB is told.
Tata now hopes to complete the first round of tests in the coming months. There will be many technical challenges, officials suggest. Part of HIsarna uses Rio Tinto’s HIsmelt iron ore reduction technology. However, Rio’s 800,000 t/y HIsmelt plant in Australia never reached full capacity and also had technical problems with refractories, SBB notes. It is now closed.
Tata hopes to run a demonstration-scale plant in 2014-2018, although its location has not yet been chosen. At this stage an 80% reduction in emissions would then be achievable using carbon capture and storage, ULCOS says.