ArcelorMittal Belval Recovers Used Tires in Steelmaking Process
Jul. 11, 2012
By recycling used tires instead of coal in the electric arc furnace (EAF) process, the Belval site in Luxembourg is preserving natural resources as well as decreasing costs. Moreover this reduces CO2 emissions and global warming.
The ministry of environment granted its authorization to recycle used tires until 2024. This innovative project has now also won the group-wide ArcelorMittal Environment Excellence Award in the "resource efficiency" category.
"The recycling of tires in the steelmaking process might look unusual at the first glance. But once it is clear how the process works, the resource efficiency and innovative nature of the technology turn quickly into a leading example" says Cherryl Dentzer, Head of Environment, ArcelorMittal Long Carbon Europe in Luxembourg.
"Using scrap to make steel is one of the process advantages of Electric Arc Furnaces like ArcelorMittal operates them in Luxembourg. The additional deployment of used tires in a process, which is respected regarding the discharge of pollutants into the atmosphere, contributes to more environmental friendly production methods pursued by the group. This shows that sustainable steelmaking has a future in Luxembourg," commented Marco Schank, minister for sustainable development and infrastructure.
Electric arc furnaces burn coal to reduce the oxidation of scrap. Since their main component is carbon, tires quickly stood out as the perfect substitute for coal in the steelmaking process. In the furnace, the carbon contained in the tires, combines with surrounding oxygen and prevents scrap oxidation, while the steel contained in the tires is recycled in the steel bath.
The small amount of zinc contained in the tires evaporates and is collected by the dust extraction system and treated together with the dust at the furnace. Thanks to this process, used tires can be recovered instead of being disposed of in landfill sites. The measurements carried out during the trials at Belval, demonstrated that neither dust, nor gas emissions, are negatively influenced when processing end-of-life tires in electric arc furnaces as a substitute for anthracite. Alone in 2011 ArcelorMittal Belval recovered 755 tons of used tires in the steelmaking process - this equals to more than 75,000 car tires.
The idea of recovering used tires in electric arc furnaces dates back to the year 2000, and was the brainchild of ArcelorMittal's Maizières research center together with French steelmaker Laminés Marchands Européens (LME). Highlighting the process' efficiency, information on the recovery of old tires in EAFs was included in the latest version of the best available techniques reference (BREF) document, published by the European integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) bureau in 2012.