R&D at MEFOS

MEFOS is a Nordic research institute for metallurgical and production engineering research with approx. 40 member companies.

Two project packages and an individual project are currently ongoing with support from the Swedish Energy Agency and EU/RFCS (The Coal and Steel Research Fund) within the areas of blast-furnace technology, production of iron ore, electric arc furnace and rolling process technology as well as the optimization of scrap.

The first package contains three subprojects and is in progress for the period 2006-2008.
The total budget is 11.1 M SEK of which the Swedish Energy Agency's share is 3.4 M SEK (31 %). The second package contains two projects and is in progress for the period 2007-2010. The total budget is 8.3 M SEK of which the Swedish Energy Agency's share is 2.4 M SEK (29 %). The individual project FLEXINJECT is in progress for the period 2008-2011. The total budget is 12.8 M SEK of which the Swedish Energy Agency's share is 3.3 M SEK (26 %).

Purpose and Goal

The project package is aimed at the development and testing of technology designed for increased energy efficiency in metallurgical and production engineering processes and to achieve energy and environmental improvements within the iron and steel industry. The short-term goal is to reduce the need for energy within steel production and the heating and rolling processes.

The goal of the first project package is to reduce energy consumption on an annual basis by 363 GWh/year. The full potential is calculated to be reached 3-5 years after the termination of the project. The goal of the second package is to reduce energy consumption by 359 GWh/year. The full potential is calculated to be reached 12 years after the termination of the project. The goal of the third project package is to reduce energy consumption on an annual basis by 370 GWh/year. The full potential is calculated to be reached 5 years after the termination of the project.

Evaluation 2007

At the beginning of 2007 a network program consisting of 15 national and international subprojects within the metallurgical and production engineering areas was concluded. The budget was 77 M SEK of which the Swedish Energy Agency's share was 22 M SEK. The goal was to increase efficiency by approx. 1 TWh per year over a ten-year period, which corresponded to 5 per cent of the industry's energy consumption. Of the total potential the project's scrap heating accounted for 50%.

An evaluation was carried out between February and April. The evaluation showed that the most important technical and scientific goals had been reached. The total energy savings were calculated to amount to approx. 22 GWh/year while the potential for energy efficiency within a ten-year period was calculated to amount to 140 – 170 GWh/year. An assessment also concluded that reduced energy consumption of just over 700 GWh/year can be realised when the research results achieved within the program are put into practice.

Energy efficiency potential of 700 GWh/year is to 65 % dependent on the application of a pilot study project relating to pre-heating of scrap in an electric arc furnace.

Research results

The EU project ULCOS (Ultra low CO2 steelmaking) with LKAB as the project leader had a total cost of 29 M SEK and a grant from the Swedish Energy Agency of 1.2 M SEK (4 %), to cover the costs of MEFOS, was concluded 31-12-2007. In the project a method to render the blast-furnace process more effective demonstrated how coke consumption can be reduced by 25-30 % (875 GWh/year) at the same time as carbon dioxide is trapped. The goal is for the carbon monoxide that forms at the top of the blast-furnace and which cannot be used for reduction to be brought back to the process in order to increase reduction. The test in LKAB's experiment blast furnace at MEFOS was carried out with a stable blast-furnace operation with the entire system consisting of a pilot blast-furnace with VPSA (vacuum pressure swing adsorption) and gas injection in air blast and shaft forms.