The opportunities for reducing CO2 emissions in the iron and steel industry – Dianne Wiley at the Cardiff Biannual

This blog was provided by Eirini Karagianni whose attendance at the UKCCSRC Cardiff Biannual was supported by the Early Career Researchers Meeting Fund.

The Autumn UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting was held on 10th and 11th of September 2014 at the University of Cardiff, UK. The aim of these biannual meetings is to bring together academics, industry, regulators and anyone involved with the development and research on CCS. It was a very successful and well-attended event with a good number of UK and international speakers and attendees both from academia and industry.

One of the final presentations was given by Prof Dianne Wiley, Capture Program Manager of CO2CRC in Australia on the opportunities for reducing CO2 emissions in the Iron and Steel Industries. Professor Wiley is an international expert on the techno-economic assessment of technologies for separation of CO2 from large stationary sources where CCS is implementing and also, she is a world leader in design, optimization and control of membrane systems for water and waste water treatment. Finally, in 2007 she was named as one of the 25 most influential female engineers in Australia by Engineers Australia. The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) is one of the world’s leading collaborative research organisations focused on carbon dioxide capture and geological sequestration.

Professor Wiley gave a presentation explaining the opportunities for capturing CO2 at different iron and steel plants and the economics of these processes at different direct and indirect CO2 sources. Iron and steel production accounts for around 5% of the global CO2 emissions and 10-15% of the annual industrial energy consumption. The iron making process is the most emission intensive part for making steel with the blast furnace being the commonest process.

The main emitters of an integrated steel plant are the coke ovens and the power plant. However, there are multiple CO2 emission point sources and this makes it difficult to capture all the emitted CO2. The flue gases consist of many minerals and together with the particulates NOx and SOx. These should be removed prior to the CO2 capture process. When the capture plant is integrated into iron and steel plants, NOx, particulates and SOx are removed prior to the CO2 separation and compression stage. The using MEA 30wt% solvent is the most way to do this.

During the final part of the presentation Professor Wiley was focused on the economical aspect of capturing CO2 from iron and steel plants. She presented the capture cost at different direct emission point sources within the plants and also, the cost of different types of plants. She concluded that the capture cost of CO2 from these industries is comparable to the cost of a 500MW black coal power plant, an equivalent large CO2 emitter.

Finally, the key challenges for implementing CCS at iron and steel industries is the management of the design and integration of CO2 capture plants with energy networks, the steel production process at existing integrated steel mills and the required space for the pre-treatment part and the capture facilities.