Swedish steel industry joins forces for electrical heating

Photo Credits: Jernkontoret, Pia Nordlander, Bildn

The Swedish Energy Agency has granted a project that will evaluate the potential of replacing gas-fired furnaces with electrically heated furnaces for material heating. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions through better energy efficiency and reduced loss of material.

The steel industry is working hard to reduce their use of fossil fuels. There are several ongoing projects in this direction of which the most well-known, the HYBRIT project, aims at eliminating the need to use fossil fuel for iron ore reduction.

The Swedish Energy Agency has granted a new project that will explore the possibilities of electrifying heating processes. This can lead to more efficient production with less energy consumption and lower carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to create a competitive advantage for Swedish steel companies on the global market. Kanthal is part of the project.

“The Kanthal offering is designed for sustainable industrial heating, and we have solutions to electrify most processes. There are still gaps, but we are in this project to fill them”, says Dilip Chandrasekaran, R&D Manager, Kanthal.

By replacing fossil fuels with electricity, the need for added energy is reduced by approximately 30 percent. If the electricity is fossil-free, the carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated. The project is critical, as the target for the Swedish government is net zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2045. It is also seen as an important input for future investment decisions for the steel industry.

Jernkontoret is the Swedish steel producers' association and hosts the project. The project manager comes from the consultancy agency COWI.

”We will evaluate future potential heating systems, such as induction, plasma and reduction heating in extremely high temperatures. I am convinced that the results will lead to technical solutions that can boost the Swedish industry”, says Björn Ahlqvist, Project Manager at COWI, in a press announcement.

Other members in the project are SSAB, Outokumpu, Kanthal AB, Uddeholms AB, Ovako and Linde. The project runs from January 2020 to mid-2021 with a total budget of 3.4 MSEK.