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Steelworks Transformation Will Begin with the Construction of New Technology

This year, Třinecké železárny is going to start implementing of specific projects to reduce CO2 emissions into the air. According to calculations, their volume will decrease by more than a half by 2030. The integrated Green Werk Transformation Project will affect the energy sector, the product portfolio and primary production processes.

The first to be started next year is the construction of a new emission-free briquetting line with a capacity of up to 500,000 tonnes of briquettes per year, which will replace steel plant sinter and partially blast furnace sinter. Its production is a very energy-intensive process with a high specific consumption of fossil fuels resulting in high CO2 emissions.

The investment costs will reach CZK 950 million. Třinecké železárny wants to finance a part of the costs from a subsidy from the Modernisation Fund in amount of CZK 405 million, of which TŽ has applied for and has been waiting for notification from the European authorities. The line will provide jobs for 12 new workers. The plant is going to be put it into operation in mid-2025.

"There are 820 to 850 kilograms of CO2 emissions per tonne of steel plant sinter produced. Thanks to the briquetting line, which is cold joining material necessary for pig iron production. Afterwards, emissions will be significantly reduced by up to 70,000 tonnes per year," explains Jan Czudek, the CEO of the company, explaining the main benefits. The consumption of coke and coke dust, which is sintered together with limestone and ore at the sintering plants, will also be reduced.

"The new technology works on the principle of mixed powdered ores by pressure and binder. The essence of a production is a high-pressure press where the material is pressed under very high pressure and a vacuum pump. This is preceded by a material preparation line where the material is mixed, moistened and a binder is added. The final briquette reaches the mechanical strength required for charge after 48 hours," explains Director of Investments Radek Olszar.

The bonding agent constitutes a maximum of 5% of the total volume. Technologists and researchers of Třinecké železárny are now working on creating of the most suitable bonding agent with the possibility of using their own secondary products of metallurgical production. "For example, a fine ground slag blend can partially replace cement. Now we are looking for the exact composition to make it work," adds the The Director of Investment.

The integrated Green Werk Transformation Project includes several projects aiming at further emissions reduction. For example, a partial switch to a modern electric arc furnace technology and mainly steel production from scrap.

"We have been preparing the necessary steps to incorporate a higher proportion of scrap into the production flow. However, it must be said openly that this will require a clear European Union policy on scrap trade and sufficient amount of renewable energy," confirms CEO Jan Czudek. Assuming that there will be a shortage of scrap metal on the market and that´s why a stable supply of green energy is not guaranteed, the project no longer makes sense with regard to CO2 emissions, he says.

On the contrary, regarding the construction of two photovoltaic power plants Třinecké železárny counts with costs exceeding CZK 40 million. Both are going to be built on the production halls of the detached plants in Kladno and Staré Město at Uherské Hradiště region. Another photovoltaic plant with a cost of approximately CZK 10 million is going to be installed by the Energetika Třinec subsidiary on the premises of Třinecké železárny this year. The fundamental change in the energy sector will be a runaway from coal combustion.

To fulfil all aspects of green steel the economically available energy is inevitable, according to the CEO. "To be fair, we cannot hide the fact that green steel will be more expensive for our customers. I would point out that the issue of exports, which will put Europe at a competitive disadvantage in world markets, is not resolved yet. According to a recently published study by Prognos for German Steel Association, reducing CO2 emissions will cost EUR 600 in gross value added per tonne of steel," added Jan Czudek.

Thus, according to this study, transformation can only be successful if adequate support for increased operating and investment costs can be provided.

Petra Macková Jurásková
Press Secretary of the Třinecké železárny - Moravia Steel Group
phone: +420 558 535 841
mobile: +420 602 265 738
e-mail: Petra.Mackova@trz.cz