METEC 2023: SPIE presents its solutions for decarbonizing the steel industry

Published on 20 June 2023

Cergy, June 20, 2023 - SPIE Industrie, a subsidiary of SPIE France that supports manufacturers in their energy transition and digital transformation challenges, unveiled at METEC 2023, the global event dedicated to steelmaking and metallurgy held from June 12 to 16, 2023 in Düsseldorf, the advances of its EMPERE solution as well as a new solution enabling the decarbonization of electric arc furnace installations. Developed in collaboration with SCCM ALP, a specialist in mechanical and thermal equipment, this innovation recovers part of the waste heat generated by the operation of electric arc furnaces.

EMPERE, a solution at the heart of energy efficiency

With the steel industry accounting for 18% of thermal energy consumption in French industry, and 22% of greenhouse gas emissions according to Ademe (2021), players in the sector are facing a twofold challenge: maintaining, or even developing, their activities in a context of industrial relocation, and decarbonizing their processes, which has been underway for several years.

With this in mind, SPIE Industrie has been developing and installing an innovative solution called EMPERE for over 40 years, aimed at reducing the energy consumption of electric arc furnaces used in scrap recycling and steel production. The EMPERE solution meets three major challenges: reducing energy consumption, reducing the use of materials such as electrodes and refractories, and increasing arc furnace productivity.

Thanks to this control system, a significant reduction of around 1,800 tons of CO2 per furnace per year has already been achieved, equivalent to the emissions of 1,000 cars each travelling 8,000 km, or the distance from Paris to Beijing. Today, the EMPERE solution equips 300 furnaces worldwide, and is the market leader in Europe.

To respond effectively to the needs of industry and the challenges of decarbonization, the EMPERE solution continues to develop, incorporating the latest technologies. Research and development partnerships, such as the one established with the Centre de Recherche en Automatique de Nancy (CRAN), contribute to this evolution.

A complementary solution to reduce the carbon footprint of electric arc furnaces

With the aim of further improving the performance and reducing the carbon impact of electric arc furnaces, SPIE Industrie and SCCM ALP have jointly developed an innovative new solution for recovering the waste heat present in the fumes emitted by furnaces.

"Steelmaking is a major source of CO2 emissions. As a result, the use of arc furnaces for steel reclamation will become increasingly widespread. Combining the skills of SCCM ALP and SPIE Industrie contributes to the decarbonization of this industry, by recovering waste energy from fumes", points out Philippe Faye, Senior Project Manager at SPIE Industrie.

This partnership between the experts at SPIE Industrie and SCCM ALP has resulted in an efficient heat recovery system. SCCM ALP took charge of the system's mechanical design, while SPIE Industrie concentrated on transforming this waste heat into usable energy.

This waste heat has several applications:

  • Electricity production to power the industrial site;
  • The production of hydrogen and oxygen as fuels, thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels;
  • The use of this thermal heat in the steel design process, notably for scrap preheating, or for thermal applications such as site heating.

The installation of this waste heat recovery system enables the manufacturer to achieve a return on investment in just 3 years, if thermal utilization is preferred. In the case of electricity or hydrogen production, the return on investment is achieved after 5 years.

"With over 40 years' experience in the steel industry, SPIE Industrie is continuing its commitment to the sector by developing these solutions. We strongly believe in the value of these innovations, which are an essential link in the industry's decarbonization strategy", says Martial Martig, head of the product department dedicated to the steel and metallurgy market at SPIE Industrie.

"Our joint presence at Metec 2023 is the fruit of a joint approach to managing and reusing emissions from the steelmaking process, drawing on our complementary expertise. This process, which has been underway for several years, takes on even greater significance in the current period of high energy prices and the absolute necessity for the steel industry to become greener. Our engineers are at the disposal of our customers all over the world, so that together we can build solutions to optimize their energy consumption and gas emissions", explains Guillaume Pasquier, CEO of SCCM ALP.