• Salzgitter Low CO₂ Steelmaking program (SALCOS®) is converting an existing coal-based plant to hydrogen
  • ABB ArcSave® electromagnetic stirring solution will equip a new highly efficient Primetals Technologies Ultimate Furnace
  • ABB technology will help the steel producer improve productivity and efficient resource use, lowering costs and carbon emissions

ABB is providing an ABB ArcSave® electromagnetic stirrer (EMS) to one of the leading German steel producers Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH. The equipment will optimise the metallurgical performance of a new electric arc furnace (EAF) provided by Primetals Technologies, which is the first step in the SALCOS® program to transform the steelmaking process from coal-based to hydrogen-based.

The steelmaker has a target to produce virtually CO₂-free steel at its plant in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, Germany, by 2033, and to achieve this it is replacing existing blast furnaces and converters with three EAFs and two direct reduction plants. Utilising hydrogen, Salzgitter is expected to reduce CO₂ emissions by 95 percent. The developments align with International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that state hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels can play an important role in the decarbonisation of sectors where emissions are hard to abate and alternative solutions are either unavailable or difficult to implement, such as heavy industry and long-distance transport.

Salzgitter has signed a contract with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Primetals Technologies for the Ultimate Furnace. This EAF with a tapping weight of 220 tons and an annual capacity of 1.9 million tons of steel will begin the SALCOS conversion. The EAF Ultimate is part of the electric steelmaking portfolio at Primetals Technologies, offering short tap-to-tap times, fully automated operation and advanced control systems. ABB ArcSave will optimise metallurgical conditions in the EAF, resulting in higher productivity, lower costs and more efficient use of resources including electrical energy.

“With SALCOS we are pioneers in the decarbonisation of steel production,” said Ulrich Grethe, Head of Steel Production at Salzgitter. “With the electric arc furnace from Primetals, we are relying on an established technology that is further optimised by the electromagnetic stirrer from ABB.”

ABB ArcSave is a unique, patented and proven EMS technology designed to improve metallurgical conditions and optimise operation of EAF. Installed on some of the world’s largest arc furnaces and on over 165 projects globally, ArcSave can help reduce the carbon footprint of both existing operations and greenfield projects. Commissioning is expected in 2025.

“Resource and energy efficiency mean many steelmakers are switching to electric arc furnaces, which have lower environmental impacts than other steelmaking routes such as blast furnaces,” said Zaeim Mehraban, Global Head of Sales, ABB Metallurgy. “ArcSave enables safer, more consistent and efficient arc furnace operation and therefore contributes to sustainability as well as financial goals. It is great to be collaborating with major steel industry player Primetals Technologies on Salzgitter’s significant low CO₂ steelmaking project.”

Requiring no contact with the bottom of the EAF, ArcSave enhances stirring during the melting of large scrap items, reducing stratification via forced convection. This improves EAF operation by homogenizing temperature distribution and chemical composition, while speeding scrap and ferroalloy melting compared with natural convection alone.

Typically, ABB’s patented ArcSave technology can improve yield by around one percent, with productivity improvements of between five and seven percent. The solution also reduces consumption of electrical energy by three to five percent as well as use of process additions such as alloys and lime, and other consumables such as electrodes.

Salzgitter has an annual capacity of seven million tons of crude steel with 25,000 employees worldwide in 150 national and international subsidiaries and associated companies.