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Evraz Highveld Looks to Improve Furnace Efficiency by 50%

Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium is implementing iron-ore reduction processes that should cut the energy consumption of its furnaces by up to 50 percent, reports Mining Weekly.

The company tapped engineering consultancy Hatch to conduct a prefeasibility study in 2011. That study indicated that by improving the prereduction process in its kilns, Evraz could improve its efficiency.

Due to the high titanium content of the ore the company receives from its mine, it can not be smelted in the traditional way, as such a process could result in a titanium reaction that would choke up blast passages and shut down the furnaces, Evraz says. The goal of the prereduction process is to take some of the oxygen content out of the iron ore with the end aim of eliminating the possibility of a titanium reaction.

The new process implements preheating mechanisms in the kiln to promote metalization of the ore to reduce the power required by the furnace. Evraz is aiming to improve the metalization in its kilns from 30 percent to 64 percent with the aim of reducing furnace energy consumption by 50 percent, Mining Weekly reports.

This is not new technology. New Zealand Steel – which Evraz describes as a “leading developer” of energy efficient technologies for this type of ore – has been using preheating mechanisms for 20 years.

Evraz has shortlisted various reheating technologies and, once a final selection has been made, it will begin construction in the first half of next year, Mining Weekly says.

In October last year, steel giant Tata upgraded controls for the largest steam boiler at its Port Talbot, Wales, facility using energy management technologies and services from Emerson Process Management. The new controls enable Tata to increase energy efficiency and maximize use of waste fuels, reducing emissions as well as reliance on purchased fuels, Emerson said.

In May, Phys.org reported that steel plants located just outside the city center of Sheffield, England, could be connected to the city’s existing district heating network to provide an extra 20 MW of thermal energy. Steel companies actually spend money to cool flue gas and the water used during manufacturing, so heat recovery helps them to save money while benefiting the environment, professor Jim Swithenbank of the University of Sheffield told the science news service. The initiative should also reduce heat production costs for the city, while improving energy efficiency.

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