The prototype will be set up in the ArcelorMittal plant in Sestao (Biscay), with the objective of measuring the “in situ” environmental benefits and facilitating the model’s replication possibilities.

CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in battery storage, thermal energy solutions and hydrogen, and member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance-BRTA, will coordinate the construction of an innovative plant of combined production of heat and electricity that will allow the iron and steel industry to reutilize the residual heat that is present in the fumes of the electric arc furnace. The initiative is framed within the project HI4S (Heat It yourself For Sustainability) that is led by the Basque center, and will be funded with 1.5 million euros by the European Union through its program LIFE, dedicated to the Environment.

“The possibility of building and installing a prototype at a real-scale in an iron and steel plant in full performance puts us in the best possible scenario for the approval of the project”, has manifested Iñigo Ortega, associate Engineer at CIC energiGUNE and Principal investigator of the project. “Moreover, we are convinced that not only are we going to be able to improve the energetic management of the iron and steel industry, but we will be able to help them in other fields, such as the valuation of a solid derivative like the black slag”, has added Daniel Bielsa, Technology Coordinator at CIC energiGUNE.

Coordinated by CIC energiGUNE, the HI4S consortium counts with the participation of six other partners: ArcelorMittal, Fivemasa, Enerbasque, Life Cycle Engineering-LCE, SDEA Solutions and Azterlan. Precisely, the facilities of ArcelorMittal in Sestao (Biscay) will accommodate the prototype of the recovery plant, with the objective of analyzing on-site the environmental benefits being pursued and studying its possibilities for replication in other industries of High-Energy Consumption.

In this sense, it needs to be highlighted that HI4S is the second solution of thermal storage and heat recovery in the industry implanted by CIC energiGUNE at a real-scale. The previous one finalized in 2019, within the framework of the REslag projectthe first European project led by CIC energiGUNE in its history- and in which they also counted with the collaboration of ArcelorMittal. In this case, CIC energiGUNE developed a demonstrator prototype at a 1/10 scale that opened the door to the valuation of the slag of the steelworks.

In a complementary way, the project HI4S aspires to build and validate a high-temperature filtering system that avoids the usual problems of obstruction of the heat exchangers and that reduces the costs of associated emissions. Likewise, it pursues to develop a system of heat reutilization that is flexible, profitable and sustainable, which allows various ways of operation and that saves around 37,5 GWhe/year in the steelworks.

The specific results of the projects, apart from the construction of a validated prototype in an operative industrial setting, will be defined in the obtaining of a trustworthy decision-taking tool for the possible application of this technology in Industries of High-Energy Consumption, and an assessment report of the sustainability that will demonstrate the benefits of the technology taking into account the environmental, economical and social impacts.

Along these lines, the HI4S project foresees the generation of substantial environmental impacts, such as the reduction of CO2 emissions from the steelworks to 9 Tm/year (which would suppose the 6% of the total emissions of the iron and steel industry), or the decrease of the derivatives, black slag, to 560.000 t/years (10-15% of the total generated by the EU). As a consequence, the reduction of the energy consumption would entail 200 M€/year of savings of emissions, and the recovered energy (37,5 GWh/year) could suppose a saving of 4,9% in the electric consumption of an electric arc furnace.

The project HI4S contributes, additionally, to reinforce the positioning of CIC energiGUNE in the field of thermal storage and management, since it joins to a third solution developed in the center within the framework of the project ORC plus. In this case, it deals with a plant of solar concentration located in Morocco whose objective is to improve the on-demand production capacity of the plant, independent of the availability of sunlight.

Nuria Gisbert, General Manager of CIC energiGUNE has reminded that “in the new context of the Green Deal and PNIEC, the energetic efficiency in the industry is going to be key and the storage and recovering of heat technologies of CIC energiGUNE contribute important advances in this field, that is why we are convinced that these types of thermal storage solutions will entail a recognition to make progress in the objectives of energetic efficiency marked by Europe”.

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