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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

After an enjoyable welcome dinner at the Seiyo-Ken restaurant, including an opening address by Shiro Takegami from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the second day of the workshop started with a session on CO2 storage. The presentations by Ziqiu Xue (RITE) and Chi-Wen Liao (ITRI) both showed that safe and leak-free CO2 storage is possible even in case of seismic events, i.e. earthquakes. As a precaution it is recommended to install alarm systems for automatic shutdown of injection during seismic events and to avoid injecting into faults.

In the next session efficiency improvements for low CO2 steel production were presented. Jean Freysz (Air Liquide) informed about possible energy savings through optimisation of O2 purity and pressure. Lowering the pressure from 30 to 10 bar results in an energy saving of 11%, while reducing the O2 purity from 99.5 to 95% leads to savings of another 12%.

Afterwards, CO2 emission reduction in alternative ironmaking processes was discussed in detail. CO2 emissions in FINEX have been drastically reduced by briquetting, PC injection and CO2 removal techniques. The HIsarna smelting technology can reduce energy usage as well as CO2 emissions by 20% per tonne of hot metal compared to the conventional BF-BOF route and even by 80% if CCS is applied in addition. NOx and SOx emissions are reduced as well. Further benefits with regard to CCS application are a N2-free, low-calorific flue gas and a single emission source. The next step is the construction of a demonstration plant and it is expected that the technology will be ready sometime after 2020. CO2 reduction in MIDREX process is achieved by using NG instead of coal and therefore the focus lies on further decreasing the NG consumption. Additional savings in CO2 emissions of between 9% and 31% (compared to the cold DRI-EAF route) can be realised by feeding hot charged DRI and HBI to the EAF.

Jean Theo Ghenda (Steel Institute VDEh) illustrated the mitigation potential in the European steel industry in his presentation. CO2 emissions have already been reduced by 25% between 1990 and 2010 due to decrease in output and shift from BF-BOF to EAF route. A shift beyond that to DRI-EAF route does not seem economically feasible in the EU, as abatement costs are estimated to be 260-700 €/tCO2. So with or without CCS, the steel industry is not expected to come anywhere near the requested 80% reduction of CO2 emission by 2050; a reduction of 38-56% appears to be more realistic.

The second day of the workshop then ended with a discussion forum emphasising a number of key issues:

The third day started with presentations on process integration and efficiency improvements, showing that the introduced modelling and simulation tools can help identify further potentials in energy savings and CO2 emission reductions. For instance, biomass charcoal was presented as a prospective substitute for coal and nutcoke by John Mathieson (BlueScope Steel/CSIRO) and Kazuya Kunimoto (Kyushu University). A substitution of 19-25% seems feasible, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 31-57%. Thus the use of biomass-derived chars can provide a low-cost path to CO2 emission reduction. However, this depends on the establishment of a low-cost, large-scale pyrolysis industry as well.

On the fourth day the members of the IETS Annex Group were able to visit JFE East Japan Works in Keihin. The Keihin site is an urban steel plant which was Japan’s first private steelworks. Today the steel plant is an example of an environmentally friendly plant integrated in a metropolitan area. Participants were able to have a look at the used home electric appliances recycling plant and the waste plastics recycling plant. In the latter municipal waste plastics are crushed, granulated and then used as a BF feed substituting part of the coke. This way, the plant contributes to a recycling-oriented society and also helps reducing CO2 emissions.

In conclusion, the workshop has been a great opportunity to catch up with the most recent developments regarding CO2 emission reduction technologies in the iron and steel industries. The Japanese efforts in particular, such as through the COURSE50 programme or as implemented in the JFE East Japan Works, have been very interesting.

The presentations given at the workshop will soon be available for download on the IEAGHG website.