Welsh steel Inquiry


Can hear information about costs of running a steel plant, market information.


CO2 emmissions from blast furnace

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.

CO2 claim.
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?

EAF claim.
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.

Just roll
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 furnace
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?

Are we living in the Steel age?

I think that in the future this age will be recognised as the steel age (or bainite age!), future historians will probably still over look the vital role of steel in their own civilisation (although no doubt it will still be of vital importance if they are civilised). However, with the benefit of hindsight they will probably be able to recognise it’s importance during this era. In a dystopian future they will tell camp-fire stories about the ancients and their hidden steel knowledge, and their ability to make ‘things’.

Probably Stone and Bronze age peoples didn’t recognise they where living in an age defined by the materials they used, either. That’s because they used many other materials too, and concerned themselves with where the next meal was coming from, and generally got caught up in the drama of Bronze age existence.

Steel in action, in the modern city of Vancouver.

Steel in action, in the modern city of Vancouver.

Gaurdian comment on Visit of Chinese President as UK steel industry slashed


ArcelorMittal Fos sur Mer

Arcelor Mittal fournir une belle vidéo sur la fabrication de l’acier dans son usine de Fos-Sur-Mer.

Making a welded Damascus Knife

John Neeman Tools have posted a beautiful video of manufacturing a welded Damascus patterned knife.

5 layers of 3 different steels were forge-welded, folded, and forged. With each step being repeated 8 times. This produces a patterned with 320 layers. Finally twisting and forging the steel produces a more complex pattern.

Just checking the number of layers, I get their total to be different. My calculation of the number of layers is 5 × 28 = 1280, that is 4 times more than claimed (320 layers should be the result of folding 6 times (6 folds 5 × 26).

With 1280 folds, if we assume the thickness of the knife is 2 mm, that means each layer is 1.6 μm, 320 folds would be 6 μm layers. These are both lower than what can be resolved using the naked eye. It’s very close to the wavelength of visble light — if the metal were folded one more time, or the final thickness of the knife is less than 1 mm you would be there.

Future of steel production?


Details of a new process have been revealed, for alloying electrochemical production of iron, either for making iron (and oxygen!) on the moon or making electrolytic iron (and oxygen) on earth. The original process was developed for release of oxygen from moon rocks, using iridium metal electrodes. The new process uses chromium-iron electrodes.

The process has the potential to further reduce the carbon dioxide produced during steelmaking, when combined with electricity production from ‘carbon-dioxide neutral’ source.