Tata Steel will save 10 million cubic metres of gas at year – enough to power 5,500 homes – at its IJmuiden plant in the Netherlands through the use of newly installed heat-retention boxes.
The boxes will store freshly cast steel slabs, keeping them hot until they are required for rolling on IJmuiden’s Hot Strip Mill.
The EUR4.5 million investment, which will pay for itself in little more than a year, will reduce the amount of heat lost from slabs left to cool between the casting and rolling stages of the production process. As a result less time and energy will be required to reheat the slab prior to rolling.
Three heat retention boxes, each 14x23 metres by 4 metres tall, started being commissioned at IJmuiden in December. The roofs consist of moving hatches that can be opened at precise points, allowing an overhead crane to hoist slabs in or out. About half a day’s production on the Hot Strip Mill can be stored in the boxes, increasing hot slab use by 15%.
Dook van den Boer, Hub Director of Tata Steel’s IJmuiden plant, said: “This project clearly shows how we can use our technological know-how to devise and implement projects that profit both the company and the environment. This is just one of many projects through which we have succeeded in decreasing the amount of energy needed to produce a tonne of steel by almost 30% since 1989.”
Hot slabs are transported by train from the steel melt shop to the heat retention boxes, each of which can store 2,500 tonnes of steel. When the slabs arrive they have a temperature of 650 degrees Celsius. The boxes are lined with a 25cm thick layer of insulation material and slabs stored inside them only lose 25 degrees per 24 hours. If slabs are not stored in the boxes, they lose all their heat within 48 hours.
As well as reduced production time on the Hot Strip Mill and the lower energy requirement, the project will bring an additional benefit in reducing CO2 emissions from power generation by about 22,000 tonnes a year.
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About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With the main steelmaking operations in the UK and Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel Group is one of the world's largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 81,000 employees across five continents.