Based on but going beyond the emission reduction potential of the blue blast furnace, SMS group is developing EASyMelt. This electric-assisted syngas smelter will function as an alternative to the direct reduction route and as a complementary block for filling the gap between iron ore availability and green steel demand.
The concept aggregates the latest technologies developed by Paul Wurth for substituting the traditional blast furnace in integrated steel plants and helping them achieve carbon neutrality. EASyMelt is an electrified direct reduction and melting process, using a minor quantity of coke to entirely replace the traditional hot blast with gases like coke oven gas, natural gas, hydrogen, and ammonia. Depending on the energy input, the technology can achieve emission savings of above 60% compared to the traditional BF-BOF route. Remaining direct emissions can be reduced by applying carbon capture or through the use of biomass or biogas as feedstock. Using existing plants as a basis, EASyMelt is less CAPEX-intensive than any other low-carbon ironmaking technology.
The process is flexible in its input, adds resilience against supply shortages and market volatility, and can be adapted to various scenarios. Most importantly, however, traditional sinter feed may still be used in EASyMelt, avoiding fierce competition for the limited supply of (high-grade) pellets pellets resulting with its energy flexibility to highly competitive operational costs. Just like the blue blast furnace, EASyMelt can be realized in a step-wise approach of implementing several technological elements that work together to net-zero ironmaking. The central elements are the shaft injection of reducing gas, plasma-based superheating of the tuyere injection, and finally, the capturing of remaining emissions for storage or utilization.