Khalid, Y.; Wu, M.; Silaen, A.; Martinez, F.; Okosun, T.; Worl, B.; Low, J; Zhou, C.; Johnson, K.; White, D.
The reheating furnace operation in the hot mill is natural gas- and electricity-intensive. Oxygen enrichment combustion for reheating furnaces has been proposed to curb and replace natural gas use. In this study, heat transfer in steel slabs in the combustion environment of a push-type reheating furnace was simulated using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. Two oxygen enrichment methods that optimized for performance were selected a medium oxygen enrichment (MOE) case and an oxy-fuel (OF) case. A life cycle analysis (LCA) characterized the energy and emission profiles of an integrated iron and steel manufacturing process using the two oxygen enrichment cases for the hot mill. These conditions were evaluated for energy use and carbon intensity and compared with a baseline case. Results show that with oxygen enrichment, natural gas consumption can decrease by 19.6%26.8%, total energy consumption (natural gas and electricity) can decrease by 15.1%20.7% in the hot mill. Emissions of greenhouse gases can decrease by 11.1%15.2% in the two optimized cases with 14%27% reductions in regulated criteria pollutants (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, black carbon, organic carbon, and volatile organic carbons). There is a tradeoff between reducing natural gas consumption and increasing electricity demand from a life cycle perspective. Although the OF case resulted in higher energy- and emissions-related benefits, the MOE case showed the more desirable heat flux uniformity, which is key to maintaining product quality. The analysis suggests that oxygen enrichment in the reheating furnace process can have a significant impact on hot mill environmental performance and become a contributing factor in transitioning to low-carbon steel manufacturing.