Evaluation of the Integration of a Direct Reduction Process into an Existing Steel Mill
In the context of climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in all economic sectors is considered to be an important factor in order to meet the demands of a sustainable energy system. The steel industry as one of the large industrial CO₂ emitters is currently highly dependent on fossil resources. In order to reduce coke consumption and thereby CO₂ emissions while still being able to further utilize existing blast furnaces, the possibility of including a direct reduction process (DRP) into a fully integrated steel mill was investigated. Therefore, a blast furnace model, derived from literature data and implemented in Aspen Plus, was used to analyze the impact of DRI in the blast furnace process. Furthermore, a state-of-the-art DRP was modeled to investigate the possibility of substituting the reducing agent natural gas with hydrogen. A sensitivity analysis was carried out in order to find the boundary percentage of hydrogen as a reducing agent without penalty to the DRI quality. Lastly, the two modeled process steps were combined to form a route of producing pig iron. By varying boundary conditions of the DRP while recording the CO₂ emissions of the two process steps, the overall potential for the reduction of CO₂ emissions was estimated. Within the simulated range, a maximum reduction of CO₂ emissions of 23.5% relative to typical emissions of a blast furnace could be determined.