Emirates Steel has signed an agreement with the Finnish company, ECOFER, due to take effect in 2020, which will provide the steel behemoth with sustainable slag management services for the next 10 years, in line with the company’s long-term commitment and objective of eventually producing zero waste. Under this new agreement, signed in Abu Dhabi between the CEO of Emirates Steel, Saeed Al Remeithi, and the Managing Partner of ECOFER Technologies, Ismail Fahmy, ECOFER will process slag from Emirates Steel’s electric arc furnace and ladle furnace. The slag, which will be crushed down to 1-5 mm granules, will be sold as raw product for the construction industry, after any remaining metals have been extracted from it. In addition to waste slag, ECOFER will also process refractory, heat-resistant materials which are exhausted during manufacturing.
With this new agreement, Emirates Steel’s slag will be processed and recycled more ef?ciently. This will enable the company to continue delivering high quality products at competitive costs to customers around the world, while further enhancing the sustainability of its operations by facilitating the reuse of slag as a construction material.
Emirates Steel has been recycling its EAF slag since 2014, producing roughly 2,800,000 tonnes (MT) over the past ?ve years and successfully selling it for use in the construction industry. In an exclusive interview with Steel 360 Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi, CEO of Emirates Steel, dwells at length on the company’s commitment to sustainability and underlines the efforts taken to deploy eco-friendly technologies in steel manufacturing. Excerpts:
Q. How will Emirates Steel’s slag management agreement with ECOFER ful?l its objective of attaining sustainability in manufacturing?
A. At Emirates Steel, we are proud of our dedication to creating sustainable steel. We are committed to eventually becoming a zero-waste manufacturer, recycling and reusing the industrial by-products created in the process of producing steel by enhancing our own manufacturing processes, delivering by-products to other industries which can use them, or by ?nding alternate uses for our by-products.
We produce 800,000 tonnes (MT) of slag per year in our electric arc furnace (EAF) alone. Poor management of slag can lead to signi?cant environmental issues, which we are committed to mitigating. Through processing our slag, in partnership with ECOFER, we are able to ensure this apparently useless material is not only recycled, but provides value to other industries.
Q. How does ECOFER’s slag management technology feed the construction industry?
A. ECOFER’s slag management technology brings with it a patented high-speed centrifugal mill, which is used to break up the aggregate into its necessary grades. Other technologies for slag crushing typically use some form of crusher, either a large steel ball or a solid steel cylinder. At
Slag is used widely in the construction industry, and when graded properly it is a cost-ef?cient alternative to basic construction materials, including cement and tarmac. Industrial aggregate is widely used in global road construction, serving as a reliable road surfacing material.
Q. How is Emirates Steel committed to deploying technological innovation to secure the goal of eco-friendly steel manufacturing?
A. We have implemented a variety of technologies in order to further our goal of creating sustainable steel. We are working in line with the directives set out by the Abu Dhabi government in UAE Vision 2021, Abu Dhabi Plan and UAE Centennial 2071 to conserve the natural environment of the UAE for future generations. To achieve such ends, we have adopted a collaborative approach, working with other major Abu Dhabi stakeholders within the environmental space.
A key example of this is our carbon capture technology, which we developed in partnership with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), and the renewable energy company, Masdar. Our USD 123 million facility captures CO2 produced during the steel
manufacturing process and transports it to be used and sequestered by ADNOC in its oil ?elds. As part of this project, we built a 50-km pipeline which runs from our plant in Abu Dhabi to the oil ?elds in which the carbon dioxide is used and sequestered deep beneath the ground.
Q. Is EAF slag ideal for construction and road making? What is the process of granulating EAF slag?
A. Slag is particularly suitable for the construction industry, given the high mechanical resistance of slag grains, which is far higher than natural aggregates. Evidence suggests that slag was ?rst used in road construction by the Romans centuries ago.
EAF slag is particularly ideal, as opposed to other types of slag such as basic oxygen furnace slag, in road construction, as it lacks free lime and free magnesia in its chemical make- up. This unique composition prevents it from volumetrically expanding, making it ideal for use in road construction.
To granulate EAF slag, molten slag is separated from liquid steel. Molten slag has a lower density than molten steel, allowing it to rise to the surface. Once separated, the slag is then cooled, before it is crushed.
Typical slag crushing techniques involve the use of either a large steel ball or cylinder, but the ECOFER technology we are deploying at Emirates Steel will allow us to use a high-speed centrifugal system that also separates the slag into speci?c grades.
The slag then passes through a cleaning drum which contains magnets that extract iron ore deposits that have not been consumed in the manufacturing process. Once the slag has been cleaned of any iron ore, it is ready for use in the construction industry.
Q. Has Emirates Steel adopted waste heat and gas recovery technologies too?
Our energy conservation efforts begin with our selection of low impurity raw materials. We are committed to using iron ore pellets with high iron content, as each percentage point increase in iron content reduces energy consumption by 6-8%.
Moving beyond material selection, we also charge hot direct reduced iron (DRI) at 600 degrees Celsius, which reduces our energy consumption by at least 20%. These efforts form a part of our company’s wide commitment to energy ef?ciency and the recovery of waste heat.
In addition, we use a variety of waste management techniques to reuse materials which would otherwise pollute the environment. Our carbon capture programme collects CO2 for use and sequestration in Adnoc’s oil ?elds, and we recycle the dust that is produced as a result of our manufacturing processes. Through adopting such advanced waste management techniques, we are leading the regional steel industry in sustainable manufacturing.