Cost-Effective Steel Production with Low-Grade Scrap

The delegation from Japanese steel institute visited SHARC furnace plant at Hellenic Halyvourgia.

In December 2017 a delegation from the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan visited the SHARC electric arc furnace plant (Shaft Arc – electric arc furnace with scrap preheating in the shaft) at Hellenic Halyvourgia (HLV) in Volos, Greece, one of the country’s largest electric steel producers for long products.

The delegation comprised 19 representatives of eight Japanese electric steel producers and was organized with the aim of exchanging ideas and information on the cost-effective production of steel, with special emphasis on steel production with low-grade scrap in the SHARC electric arc furnace. According to the information provided by SMS Group (a group of companies active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry), the furnace at HLV is a 54-MW direct-current electric arc furnace with a tapping weight of 100 tons. “It features two symmetrically arranged preheating shafts for drying and preheating the scrap,” it is emphasized. Especially the furnace’s two-shaft design, which doubles the available volume, would allow the use of inexpensive, low-density scrap. “The shafts with the built-in post-combustion systems make the furnace not only highly productive and efficient but also easy on the environment. With a potential charge of up to 65 percent of hot briquetted iron (HBI) in the shafts, the SHARC can also be used for the production of high-quality long and flat products,” the information says.

The delegation observed several heats using the SHARC process with low-density scrap of 0.25 tons per cubic meter. Due to its scrap preheating technology, this type of furnace can be charged with the least expensive scrap available in Greece, currently at a purchase price of about 15 US-Dollar per ton. “The price advantage varies depending on where in the world the scrap is purchased,” SMS Group underlined. “In Turkey, for example, the same scrap grade costs around 30 US-Dollar, in certain regions of China up to 50 US-Dollar per ton.”

Over the past ten years, in Greece, the market volume for long products has decreased from 2.2 million tons to 350,000 tons annually. Nevertheless, Hellenic Halyvourgia has been able to maintain its profitability thanks to liquid steel production in the SHARC furnace. As reported, with less than 280 kilowatt hours and an electrode consumption rate of 0.57 kilograms per ton of liquid steel, “the SHARC process is a very cost-effective steelmaking route”. Not only that, due to the symmetrical design of the furnace, the coal rate for foaming slag would be only nine kilograms per ton.

Photo: SMS Group

GR 1/2018