Dust & Air Emissions
Even more than air emissions, dust remains a key area of concern with our stakeholders and neighbouring communities. Not satisfied with simply meeting local regulations, Aperam aims for the best performance and has set a new 20% reduction target for 2030 compared to 2018 emission intensity.
In the effort to reduce our dust, our two Belgian melting shops have led the way. Both developed what are now best-in-class routines for achieving the most efficient management of dust emissions – routines that are continuously improving our total dust emissions and some of which even received an Award from ISSF, our professional association. Following this success, other Aperam units are starting to apply similar best practices in dust containment.
In France, our Imphy unit, which is surrounded by the city, is working to reduce diffused dust through enhanced capturing as part of a multi-year roadmap. A lot of progress was made in regards to the ramp-up of enhanced measuring and dust channeling. For instance, there has been a new ducting system on the bucket preheating workshop since January 2018 and, as of October of the same year, complementary continuous measuring has been in place (outflow and dust concentration) on the four grinding machines. This adds up to the continuous measuring we set up in 2017 at the melting shop. In 2019, we also improved the channeling of the dust at the oxycutting station and revamped our Electric Arc Furnace de-dusting system.
Today, all our main plants continue implementing our multi-year plan and the substantial investments needed to apply best-in-class practices in terms of air emission management.
The situation is different at our Timoteo unit, our largest unit and the only one using blast furnaces, which represent nearly 90% of Aperam’s total dust emissions. Because the unit has replaced the use of coke with environmentally-friendly charcoal, which is lighter and easily blown by wind, dust containment is particularly challenging.
To overcome this challenge, new upgrades were required. Since 2017, short-term actions have been launched on critical chimneys and our main de-dusting systems. Key achievements include the full covering of charcoal conveyors, replacement of clogged or leaking ducts and many (thousands!) of filtering bags, and maintenance for the blast furnaces’ dedusting installation.In 2018, we adopted a five-year roadmap with carefully phased revamps of installations and related investments, significant reengineering and planned production stoppages.
Since then, we have changed a number of dedusting sleeves and organised a camera-based surveillance and preventive maintenance of the key chimneys to keep the installations in good condition until a full refurbishment can be made. With this first action plan, the dust intensity of the unit was cut by two-thirds (based on 2016 levels). Progress continued in 2019.
As a result of initiatives like these, Aperam has achieved a significant reduction in our dust emissions – even in times of increased production. Our total consolidated emissions using regulatory methodologies indicate a -65% reduction in intensity in 2019 over 2015, which corresponds to dust emissions of 84 grams per ton of crude steel produced. Our company objective is to keep progressing and we aim to reach 70 grams per ton by 2030.