Following the decision by the Salzgitter AG Supervisory Board in July to approve capital funding in the amount of € 723 million for SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking, the first order has now been placed for central plant components that will enable virtually CO2-free steel production in Salzgitter.
Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH and Primetals Technologies signed a contract for the engineering, supply and erection of the first electric arc furnace (EAF) and the development of technical infrastructure in Salzgitter.
The EAF is an a.c. module with three electrodes which has an annual capacity of around 1.9 million tonnes of crude steel. It will be capable of smelting sponge iron and steel scrap along with various additives in less than 50 minutes. The crude steel will then be refined using the existing plant, cast in slabs, rolled, and processed. Plant assembly will commence at the end of 2024, once the technical infrastructure is in place.
The scope of the order also extends to the necessary ancillary modules such as, for example, dust extraction units including heat recovery, water management, electrical compensation to stabilize the network, and material handling equipment for alloying agents and additives. Extensive digitization, robotics and other technology packages will be employed to ensure process stability at the new EAF. Production is slated to start at the end of 2025.
Ulrich Grethe, Head of Steel Production at Salzgitter AG, commented: “This step underscores our ambition through SALCOS to retain our leadership in decarbonizing the steel industry and ensure that our plant here in Salzgitter is securely positioned for a long-term future. With Primetals we have a strong partner by our side – true to our Salzgitter AG 2030 strategy and to the principle of partnering for circular solutions.”
Aashish Gupta, Executive Vice President and Head of Upstream Business stated: “Primetals Technologies is delighted to support the decarbonization projects undertaken by Salzgitter AG through the use of our technology, in this case with the installation of a high-efficiency EAF. With our ‘Green Steel’ technology, we are making low-CO2 steel production a reality.”
The EAF and the ancillary modules will be fitted with sound insulation in order to securely comply with the permissible noise limits at the workplace and in the neighbouring communities. The waste heat generated by the process will largely be converted into steam with the aid of heat recovery technology. This steam will then be fed into the “steelworks network” and reused in other parts of the works.
The goal of SALCOS is, in three stages between now and 2033, to convert the integrated steelworks entirely to low-CO2 crude steel production. As part of the transformation, two direct reduction plants and three electric arc furnaces will be built to successively replace the blast furnaces and converters.
In this way the previous process based on coking coal will give way to a new water-based route to steelmaking. Anticipated savings are in the order of 95 % of annual CO2 emissions of around 8 million tonnes. That means that around 1 % of Germany’s emissions of CO2 can be avoided.