Blog - Climate change: Improving operational efficiency

Climate change: Improving operational efficiency

Rizwan Janjua, Head, Technology, worldsteel

18 June 2019

Our members have been making major announcements on breakthrough technology investment and planning using 2050 as the common target date. This has thrown a spotlight on the next 30 years.

What is the steel industry planning to do between now and then?

The membership of the World Steel Association (worldsteel), which represents more than 80% of global steel production, continues to find ways to drive efficiency in energy use and product design.

On the road to the arrival of breakthrough technology, short and medium-term process efficiency gains will provide important benefits to tackle climate change.

Recently our members have agreed to join a new industry wide drive named step up. This multistep process covering raw materials, energy input, yield and maintenance can bring a mill operation up to the same efficiency levels as the steel industry top performers.

A 4-stage efficiency review process has been devised, based on leading practice, for all mill operators to follow, covering the following areas:

  1. Optimal raw materials selection and use:
    The quality of iron ore and coking coal has a direct impact on energy intensity and CO2 emissions. Measures, such as beneficiation of ore and coal at the source, switching to carbon-lean or hydrogen containing fuels, and increasing scrap use in the basic oxygen furnace are just a few of the measures that can significantly improve operational performance.
     
  2. Energy efficiency and minimising waste:
    Energy efficiency is a crucial component of resource efficiency and there are several tested and proven improvement measures available: heat or energy recovery from solid and gas streams, coke dry-quenching, cogeneration units, electricity savings (aiming toward self-sufficiency), and many more.
     
  3. Improving yield:
    Improving yield leads to increased output from the steelmaking processes. It is directly linked to a reduction in energy intensity and raw material use.
     
  4. Process reliability:
    Improving a steelmaking plant’s maintenance ensures process reliability, which reduces losses in quality and process time, thereby reducing energy use per tonne of steel.


The efficiency review process based on leading practise is open to worldsteel’s membership. The programme will be tested across 9 sites in 2019 and then rolled out much more widely through 2020-2025.

We are inviting all our members to take part in this programme and expect a high level of participation across all regions. A progress review will be provided in the course of 2020-2021.

 

 

Add your comment here:

  • 1

    I agree with Mr Rizwan Janjua about the importance of these 4 parameters to reduce CO2/GHG emission intensity. But more importantly, the technology adopted plays the major role. A country like India, adopts several routes for steel making namely BF/Corex-BOF, stand alone EAF or IF using Scrap or purchased DRI, Gas DRI-EAF, Coal DRI-EAF/IF etc. The industry would like to use more and more Natural Gas, but its availability is restricted. So Coal based DRI production is rampant which adds to very high coal consumption and GHG emission. India has also no supply of scrap and 5-6 million tonne scrap is imported annually to feed the EAF/IF units. Besides, imported scrap is also costlier as compared to Coal DRI. Thus, growth is mainly in Coal DRI-EAF/IF and BF-BOF routes. But in BF-BOF route also, the GHG emission scenario is not encouraging because of technological obsolescence, and constraints in raw material quality. Of late, some of the BF-BOF route based plants have witnessed remarkable progress and both energy intensity and CO2 intensity is reducing remarkably. But this is not true for all plants and they need to follow suit to achieve the targeted goal of the Paris Accord.

    avatarA C R DasJun 21, 2019 2:15:57 PMReply

  • 2

    Dear A C R Das - Indeed, geography and local policies can limit a plant’s choice of raw materials and the energy mix. However, as a majority of countries have signed up to the Paris Agreement, one can argue or make a case for reviewing the existing policies in accordance with the pledges. It’s not possible to challenge science – technologies have certain limitations as you highlighted, and a given assortment of raw materials can deliver only so much of performance. Raw material beneficiation and optimization of energy streams (recovery, re-use) within the site do offer a significant performance jump with the existing facilities.

    avatarRizwan JanjuaJun 21, 2019 7:10:31 PMReply

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