New Way for Steel Makers to Reduce Operating Costs

In transforming the blast furnace into a combined iron-maker and fuel producer for high-efficiency power production, Air Products (NYSE: APD) and Danieli Corus are providing a way for today's steel producers to reduce operating costs and improve their environmental footprint.

Blast Furnace Plus (BF Plus) is the new technology offered from the integrated technologies of Air Products and Danieli Corus for steel producers looking for a solution to these two operating priorities.

BF Plus is a patent-pending technology that can reduce blast furnace operating costs while raising the calorific content, which is the heating value or amount of heat released from a fuel during combustion, of the furnace's top gas. The higher calorific value top gas can be used in combined cycle energy power generation to help maximize energy recovery. The technology can produce dramatic cost savings on the order of $20 per tonne of hot metal or more and increased hot metal productivity, while optimizing power generation through integration with the blast furnace and decreasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

"BF Plus has the potential to benefit steel producers globally. The technology offers a way to increase the value of the top gas, and then take that gas and use it to create electrical power and steam. These two energy products, made from what was generally regarded as a waste, can then be used at the steel producer's site to cut down on energy costs, or even provided to the grid in the case of the electrical energy. It is really a winning offering in many ways. At the same time, the use of this blast furnace gas to make energy products cuts down on overall emissions when consideration is given to the displacement of power from other fossil fueled sources," said Joe Terrible, senior business development manager at Air Products.

"The future of integrated steel plants will be influenced by a continuous drive to reduce capital and operational expenditures. These costs will be more significantly affected by raw materials and energy prices and the effects of environmental legislation. We are therefore always exploring, investigating and developing improvements to the design and operations of blast furnace ironmaking. Combining ironmaking and modern power generation provides significant advantages as the blast furnace is effectively a large and highly efficient coal gasifier. This technology can be implemented in existing facilities as well as new greenfield facilities," said Peter Zonneveld, managing director at Danieli Corus.

Features of BF Plus include the benefit of Air Products' decades of large project global industrial experience. Under the product offering, Air Products would build, own and operate the oxygen and power generation equipment, thus further minimizing the steelmakers' capital outlay.

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