As Europe seeks ways of maintaining its steel idustry in the current economic climate, one suggestion could make steelmaking more sustainable both economically and environmentally. More EAF-based steelmakign could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of steel. But for this to be sustainable it would require far more significant closures of basic oxygen furnace capacity.
SBB 25 May – The construction of electric arc furnaces at currently idled integrated steelworks in Europe could be a way to secure a future for these sites, Marcel Genet, managing director of consultancy firm Laplace Conseil, told the SBB Steel Markets Europe conference this week in Brussels.
Genet said that closing completely an existing plant has a high financial cost and a strong impact on the relationships with clients. For that reason, Genet believes some of the 8-10 integrated sites currently closed or at risk of closure in Europe could benefit from the construction of electric arc furnaces. This would preserve the existing finishing lines at the site and lower significantly the investments compared to the cost of modernising some of the integrated steelworks equipment.
Europe has a plentiful supply of scrap and the price of scrap would not be impacted by the addition of 20-30m t/y of new EAF capacities. Genet noted that a number of scrap suppliers already price their scrap based on the iron ore prices.
Genet reported two contrasting examples of uneconomic integrated works in France during the 1980s. While the Neuves Maisons works in northeastern France was re-converted to EAF operation and is now producing under the control of the Italian Riva group, the works at Mondeville in Normandy ultimately faced closure after having decided to stick with the integrated route.
Laplace Conseil proposed a similar solution for the ArcelorMittal works in Liège, Belgium, back in January, as reported by Platts SBB. Crude production at the plant was halted permanently a year ago.