Liberty Steel launches new method of electric steelmaking

Liberty Steel UK has successfully completed trials of ecoke, a sustainable new raw material that can replace anthracite, the main source of charge carbon in electric steelmaking, and reduce steel’s carbon footprint by as much as 30%. 

The ecoke initiative is part of Liberty’s drive to lead transformation of steel manufacturing through its Greensteel strategy. Production at Liberty’s electric arc furnace in Rotherham generates just 10% of the direct emissions compared with traditional coal-based blast furnaces which produce the vast majority of the UK’s steel output.

Liberty Steel UK’s steelmaking team at Aldwarke Cast Products (ACP) in Rotherham performed a review of the processes to identify opportunities to reduce its CO2 emissions. The team identified anthracite as the main source of charge carbon in electric arc furnace production- accounting for between 86 and 97%.

A steering team was formed in Rotherham to replace anthracite with environmentally sustainable alternative. The group considered all available options and finally identified CPL Industries as local supplier of biofuel called ecoke.

Ecoke contains a minimum of 30% secondary biomass giving a CO2 reduction of 30%. The briquettes are delivered to site in similar packaging to the anthracite and ecoke is charged into the electric arc furnace in the same manner as the anthracite via the scrap basket providing an ideal solution for steelmaking operations.

The trials open up an immense opportunity both within Liberty’s business and potentially in other areas of the steel industry worldwide. In addition to the environmental benefits, the reduction in carbon credits would provide a substantial cost saving for the company.

Scott Jackson, plant manager at ACP of Liberty Speciality Steel said: “The success of Liberty’s ecoke trials is a major step forward for our Greensteel strategy. The major reductions in CO2 emissions ecoke enables, without any downside to the production process, can help to further decarbonise our production and the wider steel industry.”

Liberty Steel

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