CO2 & Energy
As a sector with a high level of CO2 emissions, steel companies like Aperam must take specific steps to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve energy savings.
Whereas the standard steel-making process demands that carbon add-ins be made during the melting process, Aperam is anything but standard. Our BioEnergia eucalyptus forest in Brazil allows us to reduce our emissions by using carbonised trees, or charcoal, instead of coke. See the dedicated page here.
As a result, our Brazilian operations have seen their CO2 footprint decreasing from 1.05 tons per ton of slabs in 2008 to 0.42 tons in 2018. At the Group level, our 2018 (scope 1+2) CO2 footprint now stands at 1,125 kilo-tonnes (781 +343 kt) or 0.492* t/ tons of slabs, in line with last year’s performance. This is a 34% decrease from 2008 and close to our 2020 objectives (-35%), giving us the claim of producing “the world’s greenest stainless steel”.
However, for us, this does not fully reflect reality as our BioEnergia forestry is actually carbon positive, with the leaves and branches falling to the forest floor degrading into humus and feeding the local flora.
Considering the exact carbon retention of eucalyptus and CO2 emission of charcoal in calculations, we actually improve by 10% at least the carbon footprint of our products made in Brazil. In addition, we consider that we stock with our well-managed forests four times more CO2 than what we emit annually company- wide. This is also how we participate in the fight against climate change.
As of 2018, 37% of our energy mix came from such renewable sources as charcoal biomass.
With respect to energy savings, Aperam is continually working to become more efficient. Overall, in 2018, we report a slight increase in our consumption in terms of absolute value (+1.9%), but our energy intensity is stable at 12.45*GJ/ton of crude steel, in line with last year, with an increase in Brazil almost offset by improvements in Europe. This gives us a -8.2% decrease, compared to our 2020 objective of -10%. In other words, we are well on track!
These achievements are, in large part, the result of the various efforts happening across the Aperam Group. For example, knowing that unplanned stoppages create heat losses, which in turn demand warm-up energy during restart and result in a much higher consumption than necessary in a normal run, we continue to work on the reliability of our machines.
> Following the construction of windmills at our Genk site, we are happy to report that our Châtelet site installed photovoltaic panels (365 Wp per panel) on the roof of the Hall 3 (see picture) during the summer maintenance period of 2018.
These 1,368 panels began operation at the end of November 2018 and should produce over 421 MWh of energy during the first year.
Overall, in 2018, we report a slight increase in our consumption in terms of absolute value (+1.9%), but our energy intensity is stable at 12.45*GJ/ton of crude steel, in line with last year, with an increase in Brazil almost offset by improvements in Europe. This gives us a -8.2% decrease, compared to our 2020 objective of -10%. In other words, we are well on track for our 2020 objective!
> In addition, in sharp contrast to traditional systems, where motors run all the time at nominal power even if there is no particular effort requested by the process, Variation Speed Drives (VSD) bring energy savings by running motors at the exact power level that is proportional to the activated load. Our use of VSD is expected to result in a saving of between 40 and 60%.
> Lastly, LED lighting projects replace old and obsolete lighting technologies (Sodium or Metallic Vapor) with LED lighting. This change will result in a 50 to 60% savings on electricity consumption, enhance the health and safety of our people thanks to better light quality, and reduce maintenance costs. It will even have an indirect positive impact on product quality and equipment reliability.
Between the three sites, about 2,500 lamps were replaced in 2018, with 2,600 more set to be changed by the middle of 2019. As of 2018, this project has already resulted in an annual energy saving of about 4.3 GWh. In 2019, other sites (Châtelet, Gueugnon, Isbergues) will accelerate their switch to LED lighting using the learnings derived from the first rollouts.
Overall, we believe that a 1.5% saving in electricity can be achieved with this project.