Dario Pauluzzi, Senior Manager, Sales, Danieli & C
In 2006, two Italian companies Danieli & C Officine Meccaniche SpA and Tenova SpA came up with a revolutionary ‘green’ method to produce steel, which can reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent. The two companies combined their technology and know-how to design and construct gas-based DR (direct reduction) plants, which are being offered worldwide under the Energiron trademark.
They are now looking to increase their presence in the Indian market — the second-largest crude steel producer in the world – where coal has been the primary reducing agent. With this technology, Danieli hopes to help India make green steel by using reducing sources cleaner than coal and capturing at least 60 percent of the carbon dioxide emission that can be commercialised as a by-product for different industries.
To further understand the relevance of this technology in the Indian market, Moneycontrol spoke to Dario Pauluzzi, Senior Manager, Sales, Danieli & C, about the Energiron technology, the company’s plans in India, and more.
Could you give us an idea about why Danieli decided to approach the Indian Steel Industry with the Energiron technology?
It has been a while since Danieli has been promoting the Energiron green steel technology jointly developed by Danieli and Tenova around the globe. There are a number of reasons that make us believe that this technology can bring added value also to the Indian steel industry.
India is one of the most important producers of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI), with a large number of coal-based rotary kilns in operation and some gas-based shaft furnaces. The Energiron process will be able to significantly add value to the local DRI and steel industry by producing DRI of quality far superior to the ones made by rotary kilns.
Standard Energiron modules are available with capacity ranging from 200,000 to 2,500,000 tons of DRI per year. DRI can be produced in any of its forms: Hot DRI, Cold DRI, or HBI, with metallisation greater than 94 percent and with any carbon content in the range from 1.5 to 4.5 percent.
The Energiron DRI is in fact a combination of chemical energy and virgin iron units; hence the name Energiron (energy plus iron).
What makes the Indian market lucrative?
The large dimension of the Indian market is one factor and the possibility to offer a flexible technology is another.
India is a large country with very heterogeneous conditions and requirements at each production site and the Energiron process enables the use of a wide range of iron oxides and reducing gases while maintaining the original process scheme. This flexibility can be of strategic importance to fit all these diverse requirements of the Indian steel industry. With the same plant configuration, the Energiron process can operate using not only natural gas but also coke oven gas, syngas, and hydrogen, in any mixture. And the use of all these reducing gases is extremely efficient, enabling minimised consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.
Further, by replacing existing coal-based reduction facilities with a modern and efficient gas-based direct reduction technology such as Energiron, India will be able to drastically reduce CO2 emissions while increasing plant availability and DRI quality.
Are you approaching only private players or Public Sector Undertakings (govt undertakings) also?
We are serving the steel industry in general.
Which countries have already adopted Energiron technology?
Energiron is a well-consolidated technology, with many installations around the entire world, including in the United States, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and India.
Two new projects have been announced and awarded to Danieli and Tenova — the 2.5 Mtpy Energiron plant for Hot DRI charge into the Danieli furnace at Ecolant (Russia) and the ENERGIRON zero-reformer plant for HBIS in China, using a mixture of coke oven gas from the existing integrated plant and an external source of Hydrogen as reducing agent.
As I understand, the by-product for Energiron technology will be CO2 and H20 in the case of NG/ Syngas or H20 in the case of Hydrogen. Can the by-products be reutilised?
Correct. Gas-based direct reduction plants make use of H2 and CO to reduce iron ores, making H2O and CO2 the by-products. The Energiron process offers the great advantage to use any mixture of gas as a reducing agent, the gas is recirculated in the closed process loop to maximise the energy efficiency, and the resulting H2O and CO2 by-products are selectively removed from the process circuit reduction. Water is condensed and recirculated back to the water treatment plant, minimising the requirements of make-up water. Since the Energiron process includes a selective CO2 removal system, the carbon dioxide generated by the reduction of ores can be captured and made available at the plant’s take-over point. This allows a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions. Owners of Energiron plants sell this CO2 to other industries, such as food and beverage producers and enhanced oil recovery systems.
In India, for instance, the Energiron plant owned and operated by Jindal South West (JSW) in Salav makes use of the selectively removed carbon dioxide to produce dry ice.
Why according to you, has ENERGIRON technology not been more readily adopted by larger steel corporations across the world yet?
The main reason behind this is historical. Since this process was initially developed to satisfy the internal needs of the DRI of the parent company, the proposal to commercialise the technology came late.
Yet, the innovations introduced over the past decades, such as the zero-reformer technology, the Hytemp system to pneumatically convey Hot DRI to EAFs, etc., were so successful that Energiron could become a leading technology vis-à-vis energy efficiency, environmental compliance, and operational flexibility.