A £53 million investment at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot works will reduce its external power requirements by about 15% and contribute towards making the site self-sufficient in energy.
The investment will introduce a new cooling system in the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant that will have the benefit of producing steam, allowing electricity to be generated. The resulting reduction in energy consumption will improve the sustainability of steelmaking in Wales. The 10MW of energy that will be saved would be enough to power an estimated 20,000 homes.
The main project work will be carried out in the second half of next year, in parallel with the £185 million rebuilding of Port Talbot’s No 4 blast furnace that Tata Steel announced eight months ago. The investment also follows the £60 million BOS plant Energy Recovery project, which was completed in May last year.
Karl-Ulrich Köhler, the MD and CEO of Tata Steel in Europe, said: “This investment is a further demonstration of Tata Steel’s commitment to make our steel operations in Wales a benchmark for the European industry. The UK Strip Products business reacted in determined fashion to the financial crisis and has earned the investments that Tata Steel has committed to it in recent months.
“Steel is a capital-intensive and highly competitive industry that requires long-term planning. It is vital that the steel industry in Europe and the UK is not faced with a regulatory environment that reduces its international competitiveness and makes similar investments in the future unviable.”
Jon Ferriman, Director of Tata Steel’s UK Strip Products business, said: “This project makes further advances towards our vision of becoming self-sufficient in energy, and also further improves our environmental performance. By equipping our BOS plant with a state-of-the-art evaporative cooling system, we will improve Port Talbot’s productivity and energy efficiency. We will also build on the ability to recycle and reuse process gases that our Energy Recovery plant brought us.”
Chair of the Multi-Unions at Port Talbot, David Ferris, said: “This investment is another massive vote of confidence for the commitment and expertise of our employees in Wales, and represents an important building block in securing a sustainable steel industry in Wales.”
The project will replace the BOS plant’s existing off-gas water-cooling system with an evaporative system that will produce steam. This steam will be converted through a turbine into electrical power, improving the energy balance of the steel melt shop and the process safety of the plant. The decision to invest in the new cooling system results from an examination of best practice within the Tata Steel Group.
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About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel (formerly known as Corus) comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, material handling and other demanding markets worldwide. Tata Steel is one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.