Spanish steel plants run on energy from waste gases

Spanish steel plants run on energy from waste gases
A series of gas engines fuelled by steel industry waste gases in Spain recently reached a combined total of one million operating hours. A total of 26 Jenbacher gas engines from GE Energy and installed at three sites in northern Spain use either coke oven gas or LD-converter gas as fuel for on-site power generation.

By using gas engines to tap into an available energy source, the steel factories are able to control and reduce their energy costs. And, by utilizing these 'waste' gases, the three sites have achieved carbon dioxide emission savings of about two million tonnes, compared to burning natural gas, since commissioning, according to GE.

Most steel production processes create large volumes of waste gases. Coke oven gas, generated during the processing of bituminous coal into coke in coke oven batteries, mainly consists of hydrogen and methane. Meanwhile, LD-converter gas � with its main component being carbon monoxide � is created during the Linz Donawitz (LD) steel manufacturing process that converts pig iron to steel. Characterized by varying compositions as well as calorific values and combustion behaviour, the optimal use of these gases as fuel requires a special engine design, as provided here by GE's Jenbacher gas engines.

The engines were chosen due to their ability to burn the toxic and residual LD-converter gas both safely and efficiently. By using the low-calorific value gas for 1.7 MW power generation per engine, other fossil energy resources also can be preserved while keeping the plant's NOx emissions within acceptable limits.

With the three steel industry plants in northern Spain, the Jenbacher product team has completed substantial research work on this application, installing the first commercial applications in Spain for coke oven gas in 1995 and for LD-converter gas in 2004.

The Profusa coke oven gas plant in Bilbao features a dozen Jenbacher generator sets which supply an average of about 6 MW of electricity, depending on the fuel composition. Meanwhile, two Jenbacher cogeneration units installed at the Industrial Química del Nalón Energía, S.A. coke factory in Sama de Langreo, in the province of Asturias, generate power and heat to support other local factory's on-site energy needs. And, installed in 2004, a dozen engines form a unique cogeneration system that utilizes LD-converter waste gas created by the Aceralia steel factory in Avilés.
10 November 06

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