One suggestion for politically beleaguered Port Talbot plant of TATA steel, is to replace blast furnaces with EAF furnace. There is a claim that the price of CO2 emissions at Port Talbot / energy policy of UK make the plant not economic. Currently it is claimed that the plant loses 1 million pounds per day. I think this is a result of the lower volume output from the plant, so amount of liquid metal produced is important.
Also currently the claim is that China is flooding the market with cheap steel, which is sold at lower than cost price (lets buy it all and bankrupt China? — haha)
So there are a few problems that are difficult here, if you know any details of above and can point me in right direction I would be interested to know.
UK policy is giving price for CO2, but a problem with this is that the policy won’t necessarily lead to reduced global CO2. Blast Furnaces at Port Talbot are said to be modern with high efficiency. Shutting them down means CO2 is shifted to another country who will do the primary steel making. UK uses ore from Brazil and Coal from Australia to produce iron. Maybe some saving if move primary production to countries with domestic production — India?
A plan proposed was to switch to production using EAF furnaces. This won’t actually reduce total CO2 produced in UK in near or medium term, but it could in long term, if you switch all ‘fossil fuel’ power stations with renewable sources or nuclear power.
It is claimed that wave / renewable close to plant can be used to power it.
One problem with this plan if that you rely on the quickly fluctuating price of scrap, and you may find that countries with a fully integrated steel plant (with primary production) can recycle the scrap more efficiently. The major way to recycle steel scrap is to make use of the heat released during ‘basic oxygen steelmaking’, so it is basically remelted for free.
What about rolling steel in UK which is produced abroad?
No country would like to export steel for rolling, all would rather export finished products with more value added. Eventually this would also lead to shutdown of plant.
Blast furnaces are an efficient way to produce primary steel, an option would be to look at carbon capture and storage, I think there was European effort, but I think it ended already? There are other processes that can be used for primary steel making, e.g. finex process.
Sorry these are some unorganised thoughts, any suggestions for reading?
Filed under: steelmaking