Posts Tagged ‘Tata Steel’

Tata Steel welcomes UK carbon compensation plan

SBB 30 November The UK chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister), George Osborne, yesterday announced a £250m (€293m) package to compensate the country’s energy-intensive industries, including the steel industry, for higher energy prices relating to carbon dioxide emissions regulations. The move is a “step in the right direction,” Karl-Ulrich Köhler, Tata Steel’s managing director and chief executive in Europe, tells Steel business Briefing.

Although the exact details are not yet available, this “should probably be adequate for steel producers,” Jeremy Nicholson, director of industry lobby the Energy Intensive Users Group, tells SBB. The steel industry could receive somewhere in the region of £30m per year in compensation, the group believes.

Indirect compensation for the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) can be carried out in accordance with EU guidance, which is currently being drafted. The ETS forces industrial units to account for their carbon dioxide emissions using carbon credits, which can be bought on the market.

Compensation for the UK’s Carbon Price Floor (CPF) is likely to require approval from the European Commission under state aid regulations. “So it is not yet clear whether 100% or some lesser amount of the CPF impact on electricity prices will actually be compensated for by the time the measure receives approval (assuming it does),” Nicholson points out.

“Some of the most crucial detail remains unclear and this relief could be short-lived,” Köhler warns. He also welcomed a number of other measures announced in the chancellor’s report.

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Earliest industrialisation of Hisarna 2020: Tata Steel

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.

Tata Steel to cut £850,000/year off Yorkshire energy bill

SBB 24 October Tata Steel intends to invest £4.5m ($7.2m) this year in energy efficiency measures at its engineering steels plants in South Yorkshire, UK, Steel Business Briefing learns. It hopes this will lead to a £850,000 reduction in its annual energy bills.

Around £2.5m will go on the steelmaking operations at Rotherham and a further £1m on quality inspection equipment at the bar mill. This will save a combined 9,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, Tata says.

The remaining £1m will be used to upgrade a reheat furnace at its Stocksbridge plant, reducing gas consumption by 10,000 MWh per year. The investments will also cut carbon dioxide emissions by around 7,000 t/y, the company claims.

Tata could link into UK carbon capture and storage network

The steel industry will need to find a wide range of option to reduce emissions in the coming years if it is to avoid punitive costs. However, it does not always have to do so alone. Sometimes collaborating with existing projects may be a viable alternative to implementing an entirelyseparate scheme from scratch. One potential area for collaboration, if it is proved succesful, is in carbon capture and storage.

SBB 15 July Tata Steel Scunthorpe is in discussions to connect to a carbon capture and storage project in northern England, it confirms to Steel Business Briefing. Pending funding, this could significantly reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions and the resulting costs.

The UK’s National Grid has begun consultations on a £5bn pipeline project to transport CO2 from the Don Valley power plant project to a storage site in the North Sea. The pipeline is planned for completion in 2015.

It is now also talking to other power plants and industrial sites in the Yorkshire & Humber region, including Tata Steel Scunthorpe, which together account for some 60m t/y of CO2 emissions.

The goal would be to develop a pipeline network in order that other facilities could feed their emissions into the main pipeline, the National Grid tells SBB. However, each facility would have to first receive funding, most likely from the European NER300 funding programme (New Entrants’ Reserve of 300m credits), it adds.

Tata Steel is looking at how carbon capture and storage and how this could benefit plants such as Scunthorpe, it tells SBB. It could now apply for the second round of NER300 funding, although no decisions have yet been taken, it points out. Applications may open next year once first round applications are decided, Jan Lucas, managing director of PNO Consultants Germany, tells SBB.

However, the exact amount of funding available is uncertain as the fund consists of the 300m carbon credits rather than a cash amount, warns Lucas. These have to be sold before the exact cash value of the fund is known.

New ‘green’ ironmaking passes first test, funding approved

Current steelmaking technologies only have limited scope for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For the industry to achieve significant cuts in emissions, of 50% or more, breakthrough technologies will be needed. Although these are still several years away from commercial operation, a number of research projects are achieving results in their test phases. In particular part private, part state-funded projects in Japan, Korea and the EU are developing new technologies.

SBB 1 July Tata Steel’s 60,000 t/y HIsarna ironmaking pilot plant in IJmuiden has successfully completed its first test campaign, the company tells Steel Business Briefing. It is now preparing for a second round of tests in October or November.

The project has also been approved for further funding from the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS), which distributes around €55m ($80m) per year to industrial research projects in the sector. The project has been selected for funding by the RFCS and representatives of European member states, and received final confirmation from the European Commission, SBB understands from a source close to the RFCS.

The first round of tests was a success and only minor alterations are needed before the second round, Tata says. The new tests aim to achieve stable, longer operating periods.

Because the project is part of the Ultra-low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) programme, further tests can only be conducted once representatives of other ULCOS members and officials are available to be present, in accordance with ULCOS protocol, SBB understands.

ULCOS is a consortium of steelmakers and others that aims to develop new technologies which can cut emissions from steelmaking by at least 50%.

The technology is jointly owned by Tata steel and Rio Tinto and can produce hot metal directly from iron ore fines and low-volatile coal, eliminating the need for coking and sintering. This could result in a cut of 20% in emissions than that produced by a standard blast furnace; emissions could be reduced a further 60% by using carbon capture and storage.

Tata Steel and Rio sign agreement over Hisarna smelting

Breathrough low CO2 stelmaking technologies will be essential if the industry is to significantly lower its emissions. But these technologies could also be commercial ventures. Some, such as HIsarna, could also reduce initial investments, land use and raw materials costs. Tata Steel and Rio Tinto hope that they can market the technology if trials are successful.

SBB 25 April Tata Steel and Rio Tinto have signed a licensing agreement over Hisarna, the direct iron smelting process being trialled at IJmuiden in the Netherlands. This will decide how the companies will benefit from selling the technology, Steel Business Briefing understands.

In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the technology could potentially reduce costs. Hisarna, developed as part of the European Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) programme, can produce hot metal from iron ore fines using thermal coal or charcoal. It therefore eliminates the need for coking and sintering and has lower raw material costs.

Under the agreement both parties will collaborate and share their knowledge over the two technologies combined in the process: cyclone pre-reduction and bath smelting. Rio Tinto recently abandoned its 800,000 t/y HIsmelt plant in Australia, which never reached full capacity because of technical difficulties, SBB notes.

The current HIsarna pilot smelter can produce 60,000 tonnes/year, though ULCOS intends to scale this up in the longer-term, SBB notes.

In future Hisarna could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50% when combined with carbon capture and storage, according to a press release issued by Tata Steel.

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.