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Future Trends - Steel

Evolutionary changes that can / will impact natural gas usage in steel making:

  • Changes in the composition of blast furnace burdens
  • Increased hot blast temperatures
  • Increased levels of supplemental fuel (reductant) injection (natural gas & coal)
    - Coal is favored unless natural gas can be secured at fixed, low, long-term cost
  • Increased use of BOF and EAF scrap preheating
  • Increased use of Oxy Fuel booster heating in EAF
  • Increased use of continuous casting and Direct Hot Charging
  • Use of thin slab casting
  • Increased ladle treatment practice
  • Increased efficiency in finishing & coating operations

(source Charles River Associates)

Revolutionary changes that can / will impact natural gas use in steel making:

  • Direct steel making
    - Driver: The possibility that coke ovens will gradually reduce capacity and eventually disappear (clean air regulation related)
  • Blast furnace supplemental fuel use at high levels (to replace coke)
  • Advanced BOF technology
  • Direct-fired scrap melting
  • Strip casting

A schematic showing how the steel industry may look in the future is shown below. The intent is to compare the current typical process flow with the "future steel making model" shown in the graphic.

Users are encouraged to make use of the technical literature and to contact the steel related trade associations listed in this module to keep current with the evolving alternate iron making technologies and especially the ones that may utilize natural gas in the future.