Třinec Steelworks Is Looking for Other Possibilities of Ecological Production
Production of hydrogen from coke oven gas as well as increasing the potential of steel utilization in environmental sectors. In addition to looking for options to address the European Union's requirements for reducing CO2 emissions, these are the key topics for further steps towards greening production at Třinecké železárny (TŽ).
Under the Paris Agreement, the European Union aims to reduce total emissions across sectors, although the EU countries contribute of only 9% of global CO2 production.
“It is important to realize that EU steel production has a negligible share of global CO2 emissions, with only 0.7%. And without the steel industry it would not be possible to work to reduce CO2 at all. We just can't do without steel. Whether we are talking about rail transport, i.e. the production of rails and rail accessories, which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint,” says Jan Czudek, CEO of Třinecké železárny. Other products produced by TŽ include, among other things, steel bars for the production of bearing rings for wind power plants, which are among the strongly promoted sources of so-called green energy alternating coal power plants.
Nevertheless, the company will have to face rising costs of emission allowances and a gradual reduction in the number of free allowances in the coming years. According to preliminary calculations, the costs are expected to reach CZK 1.1 to 1.8 billion in Třinecké železárny annually. “Carbon neutrality cannot be assured with the currently available technologies for the production of iron and steel based on the iron ore route,” says Radek Olszar, Director of Investment and Strategy.
Třinecké železárny is now a member of the strategic forum for the solution of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), namely the strategic forum Low CO2 emissions Industry. “This forum identifies key technologies in the metallurgical, chemical and cement industries. Currently, several specific recommendations and areas have been defined for the possibilities of further research and development funded. For example, metallurgy based on hydrogen or electricity, waste recycling and so on,” adds Radek Olszar, Director of Investment and Strategy. In September, the European Commission will choose from these recommendations a further course of action.
New technologies mean higher costs. “The question is whether steel consumers will be willing to accept the increased prices of steel products, when the trend is the opposite today, calling for cheaper steel from countries where its production is more burdensome for the environment than in Europe,” notes the TŽ CEO.
In addition, the so-called Hydrogen Team operates in TŽ, which is working on the implementation of the technology of production of hydrogen from coke oven gas using PSA technology (Pressure Swing Adsorption). “In Třinecké železárny we use all metallurgical gases for further processing. It would make sense to use the surplus coke oven gas currently burned at the E2 heating plant to produce hydrogen for sale to, for example, environmentally-friendly automotive drives,” says Jan Czudek, the TŽ CEO. This would indirectly contribute to reducing CO2 emissions from internal combustion engines.
To compensate for the carbon footprint, they invest every year in new greenery. At present, nearly 40,000 thousand trees are growing on the TŽ and Energetika Třinec premises, where about 120,000 tons of CO2 are bound.
Since 2016, Třinecké železárny has a certified energy management system according to EN ISO 50001: 2011, there is a chance that it is possible to reduce energy intensity, which leads to a continuous reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Another possible transfer is in-house transport using alternative fuels.