Posts Tagged ‘Iron ore’

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.

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ArcelorMittal cuts CO2 intensity

Because carbon dioxide emissions are embedded steel production, emissions from the industry are likely to increase as steel demand and output grow. However, there is some room to improve the intensity of emissions through investments in technology.

SBB 11 May Carbon dioxide emissions from ArcelorMittal’s global operations were up by 35m tonnes to 199m t in 2010, Steel Business Briefing learns from the company’s annual corporate responsibility report. However, the intensity of CO2 emissions fell to 2.15 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel produced.

The increase in total emissions was largely because of a number of facilities restarting production last year. Total emissions are still under the 2008 figure of 224m t.

A number of investments across the company’s operations helped reduce the intensity of emissions below 2008’s level of 2.184 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel. The company spent $347m on environmental technology in 2010, the report says, up from $224m in 2009.

Investments included a new waste gas recovery plant at ArcelorMittal Ghent in Belgium which started in 2010 is intended to save 129,000 t of CO2 emissions annually. A similar plant is being built at ArcelorMittal Bremen in Germany, as previously reported.

Tata commissions ‘green ironmaking’ pilot plant

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.