SSAB uses natural gas in the steel industry

Swedish steel specialist SSAB is making the energy system more sustainable with LNG.

SSAB's steel product plant in Borlänge Sweden introduced natural gas as fuel in one of the reheating furnaces a couple of years ago. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is supplied by Gasum to Borlänge with trucks, and the natural gas consumption is 6 to 7 tons per hour.

– LNG is a very efficient fuel for industrial processes such as heating steel. It is very easy to regulate against the process need, it has the lowest CO2 emissions of all fossil fuels, no dust, low NOx emissions and almost no Sulphur at all. It´s also very easy to go to biogenic fuel when you have the infrastructure, says Energy Director Tomas Hirsch of SSAB.

Natural gas is a part of more sustainable energy system

Switching over to natural gas is part of SSAB's strategy to make the energy system more sustainable, more cost efficient and to spread the risks by using several different types of fuel.

SSAB started to discuss with suppliers about natural gas deliveries already in 2010, and in 2012 thee company concluded an agreement.

In Borlänge, the gas is stored in four tanks that hold a total of 500 tonnes, i.e. 1,000 cubic metres. In a year, the production consumes approx. 45,000 tonnes of natural gas.

– Actually, we have been interested in natural gas ever since the 1970s, but since there are no natural gas lines in Sweden, the idea has never been realized. In 2002, we wanted to increase our production and decided to decrease our nitrogen oxide emissions by 40 percent. The heavy fuel oil that we used included also 0.4 four percent sulphur that we want to eliminate, Hirsch points out.

Lower emissions 

The whole terminal, including the tanks, are owned by Gasum. Annually the volume of nitrogen oxide emissions has been decreased by 300 tons. Also carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 40,000 tonnes per year and the previous 400-tonne sulphur dioxide emissions have been almost completely eliminated.

Borlänge isn’t the only place SSAB has started using LNG: recetly SSAB started using LNG in its Raahe steel mill in Finland. The LNG is transported to Raahe by tanker trucks from Manga LNG Oy’s terminal in Tornio, Northern Finland.