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Cherepovets Steel Mill (CherMK), one of the largest integrated steel plants in the world (part of Severstal’s Russian Steel division), has announced plans to increase the amount of electricity it generates using by-product industrial gases.
CherMK consumes 5.9 billion kWh of electricity per year, 78% of which the mill generates itself. As part of its strategic priority to achieve Cost Leadership, the Company aims to grow the share of electricity generated in-house up to 95% of the mill’s total consumption by 2025. The Company will use secondary energy resources - coke, blast furnace and converter gases, which are produced as part of the production process.
At CherMK, the Company is already using energy generated from blast furnace and coke oven gases. Severstal is now working to develop a technical solution for using energy from converter gases to generate electricity.
Alexander Shevelev, CEO of Severstal, commented:
“78% of CherMK’s total energy demands are met with its own electricity, 27.9% of which is generated using secondary fuels. Through our [energy replacement] program, we plan to increase the proportion of secondary gases used for electricity generation to 33.9%. One of the most important outcomes will be environmental, as it will reduce the amount of polluting atmospheric emissions by up to 12,000 tons per year, and reduce our CO2 emissions by more than 200,000 tons. Using converter gases will reduce the amount of natural gas purchased for CherMK by 200 million m3 per year, which is also in line with our principle of environmental responsibility and energy conservation. In this way, our project to increase the amount of electricity we generate using secondary resources is aligned to three of the 17 UN sustainable development goals, which we pledged to adhere to when we joined the organization’s Global Compact initiative in 2018 – “Affordable and clean energy,” “Responsible consumption and production” and “Climate action.”
Also in accordance with the UN SDGs, the Company maintains an optimal balance between the ratio of scrap metal and cast iron in the steel it produces. Scrap is the primary steelmaking component used in our electric steel furnaces. The share of secondary raw materials in the composition of one 125-ton smelting at CherMK amounts to 70%, significantly exceeding the share of cast iron. In 2018 alone, approximately 900 thousand tons of scrap metal were used in the production of electric steel at CherMK.
Projects using by-product gases are also currently being implemented at Severstal’s Resources division. Vorkutaugol uses mine methane - a greenhouse gas - in the operation of its boiler houses. Methane from coal seams is transferred to the surface using vacuum pumping stations, where it is used as fuel for the Vorkutinskaya, Komsomolskaya, Zapolyarnaya and Vorgashorskaya boiler mines.
“The Vorkutaugol mine methane degassing and utilisation project is unique to Russia. In 2018, the Company’s boiler mines between them used 73% of all the degassing methane, which is 77.5 million cubic meters of gas,” added Alexander Shevelev.
A further example of using secondary energy sources is Olcon, which has begun to use waste oils for heating large industrial premises, instead of electricity.