Primetals Technologies Signed Agreement with RHI Magnesita to Develop a New Solution Specifically for Green Steelmaking
The so-called SMELTER paves the way towards sustainable steel production by reducing emissions from a BF-LD converter route. Most of the CO2 emissions in steelmaking comes from the Blast Furnace (BF) process, which is today still the main production route. Primetals Technologies is developing a new green technology to replace BF plants, and recently signed a cooperation contract with RHI Magnesita. Primetals and RHI Magnesita will push the development forward together by combining the steel plant technology know-how of Primetals with the extensive experience of RHI Magnesita in the refractories sector. The new solution is called SMELTER, a furnace powered by electricity used for melting and final reduction of DRI. Operated together with a Direct Reduction (DR) plant and an LD converter (BOF), the SMELTER is producing liquid metal for the steel plant and liquid slag which can be used in the cement industry. During direct reduction iron ore is reduced by a reducing gas, while the LD converter takes care of all the refining works. The conventional BF – LD converter route is resulting in almost 2 t of CO2 per ton of liquid steel. Thanks to this new technology the CO2 amount will be reduced by a factor of six, to 0,33 t of CO2 per ton of liquid steel. The SMELTER provides two main cost related benefits for steel producers: The DR – SMELTER – LD converter route can be used especially for low grade iron ores, as it handles the generated slag well. Additionally, the LD converter is kept and therefore steel producers who operate integrated plants have an ongoing process without modifications of the remaining production chain without having to renew certifications when they invest in a SMELTER. It will also be possible to keep the blast furnace running while installing the SMELTER. An important part of the SMELTER, the refractory material contains liquid content at very high temperatures protecting the furnace shell. Consisting of bricks, it expands when heated and endures extremely high temperatures. The performance of the refractory material is determined by a number of factors, such as size, quality, mechanical furnace design, and cooling solutions. RHI Magnesita and Primetals Technologies are putting their heads together to find the best possible refractory solution for the SMELTER that will ensure high productivity and long lifetime.