Ahead of his presentation at the much-anticipated Eurocoke Summit 2017, we spoke with Dr. Hans Bodo Lüngen, Director of Technology at Steel Institute VDeh about the importance of reducing CO2 emissions and how it can be achieved, changes to the ways steel makers are running their plants and much more.
You are doing a closing keynote on day one regarding paths to reduce CO2 emissions in the steel industry – why is this an important topic right now?
The European Commission, according to its roadmap for attaining a competitive low-carbon economy, requires the industry to have cut back its CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels, specifically by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. The steel industry in Europe has at this point cut its CO2 emissions by 25% compared to 1990. So the fulfill the EU requirements, further actions to reduce CO2 emissions are needed.
What do you see as some of the most promising projects working on the way to reduce CO2 emissions?
CO2 emissions are mainly generated during iron and steelmaking by the carbon based iron ore reduction with carbon monoxide in the blast furnace. The most promising projects are the avoidance of CO2 in steelmaking by using hydrogen for iron ore reduction or by the utilization of CO2 and CO rich process gases for the blast furnace converter route to generate chemical products. Both project routes need hydrogen and green electrical energy.
What changes are you seeing in the way the steel makers are running their plants and what they need from the rest of the supply chain to make steel more cost-effective?
60% of the steel makers in Europe are making their steel products via the coke plant/blast furnace/oxygen converter-route. They are dependent on the supply of the basis raw materials - iron ores and coals. On the one hand the prices of these materials influence cost-effective production. On the other hand the operators request better quality in terms of chemical composition for these raw materials. All blast furnace operators in Europe today inject pulverized coal with increasing injection rates to further reduce the coke consumption of the blast furnaces. This is also a step to be more cost-effective. Generally speaking the steel plant operators are running their plants at an optimum operational level.
What do you see as the most significant shifts in coal, coke and steel in the next 12-24 months?
From the technical point of view there are no significant shifts today. But there are different R&D activities running with the aim to reduce CO2 emissions.
Why do you feel it´s important to be part of Eurocoke Summit 2017?
I have been a participant and speaker at several Eurocoke and Met World Coke Summits in the past. It has always been a very informative technology and market based program and a network of experts. It’s important to point out that the coke plant and the coke product is one of the most important metallurgical pre-materials to produce iron and steel.
Dr Lüngen will be presenting the closing keynote on Tuesday 25 April. Book your ticket to join him and other leading industry players including ArcelorMittal, ThyssenKrupp, POSCO, Eurofer and more this April.
You can view the full programme here.