Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; Germany; www.kit.edu) and the SMS group GmbH (Düsseldorf, Germany; www.sms-group.com) have developed a new process to reduce CO2 emissions from worldwide steel production by several hundred million tons per year. It is based on modernizing blast-furnace technology with moderate investments.
The process was developed by KIT’s Institute for Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry (ITCP), in cooperation with the SMS group and its subsidiary Paul Wurth S.A. (Luxembourg; www.paulwurth.com), and KIT’s startup omegadot software & consulting GmbH (Mannheim, Germany; omegadot.software). The process was demonstrated and validated at a pilot plant (photo) at Dillinger Hüttenwerke, Saarland, which is operated by the SMS group, together with Dillinger Hüttenwerke and Saarstahl. The study, described in a recent issue of Energy Advances, was performed in cooperation with omegadot, which developed a software for the precise simulation and visualization of the process and for supporting scale-up to an industrial plant.
In the process, a mixture of coke-oven gas (COG) and blast-furnace gas (BFG) is heated to high temperatures in a regenerative heat exchanger, and undergoes dry reforming into synthesis gas (syngas; CO + H2). The syngas can be injected into the blast furnace, where it serves as the reducing agent instead of coke in iron production. “Per ton of steel produced, significant amounts of coke can be saved,” says ITCP’s Philipp Blanck, who cooperated closely with the SMS group at the pilot plant that was part of the steelworks. “Specific CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 12%,” he says.
“Integration of the new process in the steelworks is the first step in the transformation of steel industry,” says Gilles Kass from the Research Section of SMS group and a co-author of the publication.