Green steel is not only about energy efficiency and emissions reduction. Technologies which use emissions in inovative ways are likely to be a major growth market in the coming years. New Zealand’s Lanzatech seems to be one step ahead with its technology to produce ethanol from steelmaking waste gases. Although the technology is relatively simple, Lanzatech is the closes company to commercial production. Richard Branson, who recently agreed to out Lanzatech’s fuel in his airliners, notes that the steel industry could produce up to 15bn gallons of ethanol every year.
SBB 17 August Global industrial solutions company Harsco Corp and clean energy technology firm LanzaTech have entered into a strategic alliance to promote the capture and reuse of steel mill flue gases “as an environmentally significant” energy source.
LanzaTech, founded in New Zealand in 2005, is the first company to successfully demonstrate production of fuel-grade ethanol from steel mill off-gases, Steel Business Briefing understands.
“Its proprietary biotechnologies convert the waste gases emitted by blast furnace, coke oven and BOF operations into low-cost, zero-carbon ethanol, thereby significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also providing a commercially scalable alternative to traditional ethanol production and its heavy reliance on agricultural food crops,” the companies said in a statement.
“The agreement with Harsco will now accelerate the introduction of this technology to steelmaking customers throughout the Americas, Europe and selected emerging markets.”
The two companies “will jointly develop plans to present the LanzaTech biotechnology to Harsco’s major mill customers and explore potential business relationships for installing and operating commercial facilities at selected sites throughout the world.”
A spokesman for Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based Harsco did not immediately respond to SBB’s request for comment regarding which mills might be approached about installing the facilities.
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.
If the steel industry is to continue reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, it will have to invest in new breakthrough technologies. Programs such as ULCOS in Europe, Course50 in Japan and AISI’s project in the USA will be necessary to develop these thechnologies. However, in the absence of greenhouse gas emissions regulations, the US projects may have fallen behind. Some of the Asian and European technologies are already at the mediium-scale pilot phase.
SBB 17 March The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) says it has wrapped up a decade-long collaborative industry research and development initiative with the release of the final report of its Technology Roadmap Research Program for the Steel Industry (TRP).
Forty-seven R&D projects are chronicled in the report, which covers collaborative efforts jointly funded by the steel industry and the US Department of Energy in an effort to save energy, increase competitiveness and reduce CO2 emissions, Steel Business Briefing understands.
“The results speak for themselves,” AISI president and CEO Thomas Gibson says in a statement. “We have achieved a 30% energy intensity reduction since 1990. To make future reductions of this magnitude, we are exploring ‘breakthrough technologies’ and must have continued collaboration between industry and government through successful partnership programs like TRP.”
Among several projects started and continuing under the TRP initiative are the paired straight hearth furnace, hydrogen flash smelting and molten oxide electrolysis, AISI notes.