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Blast furnace optimization

Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY, the Canadian leader in clean energy research and technology development, has developed a technique that will allow steel producers to improve their overall efficiency by refining their iron-making processes to become more cost-effective, energy-effective and environmentally responsible. Through a CanmetENERGY research program funded and supported by the Canadian Carbonization Research Association, CanmetENERGY’s Industrial Innovations Group developed an innovative new technique that is the only one in the world to determine the effectiveness of using new fuels in blast furnaces.

Blast furnace dust sample for analysis

Blast furnace dust sample for analysis

The technique involves analysing the dust that is emitted from the blast furnace to determine how much pulverised coal is being effectively used in the iron-making process and how much is being emitted as waste in the form of dust.  

This data will help iron and steel producers optimize the ratio of fuels required in iron making to ensure a more efficient and economic process. Pulverised coal is the cheapest fuel in the mix, and this new technique will help steel producers maximize its use.

CanmetENERGY’s technique also functions as a diagnostic tool for controlling burning conditions within the furnaces in a reliable and consistent manner, helping iron-makers identify inefficiencies and modify the amount of pulverised coal injected accordingly. The technique is currently being implemented at the Hamilton-based steel company ArcelorMittal Dofasco to monitor its blast furnaces.

“We spend $30M a year on PCI [pulverised coal injection] coal. This is used to offset the more costly coke that is required for iron reduction in the blast furnace.  Our goal is to maximize [PCI] coal injection rates so we need to know that the coal being injected is also being consumed in the blast furnace. This technique will allow us to optimize the amount of coal to inject at our blast furnaces,” says Ted Todoschuck, Principal Researcher at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

A paper on the technique written by CanmetENERGY research scientists Louis Giroux, Ka Wing Ng, and Tony MacPhee with ArcelorMittal Dofasco collaborators will be presented at this year’s Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AISTech) Conference in Indianapolis, USA, where the technique will be introduced to the steel making industry.





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