Essar Steel’s Hazira Complex which is one of the largest single location flat steel producer in India and the fourth largest single location flat steel producer globally, employs three iron making technologies – Midrex (DRI), Corex and Blast Furnace. These technologies provide great operational flexibility and shields the business against the vagaries of the raw material market.
The Blast Furnace technology is one of the oldest techniques used to produce iron and other industrial metals. This intermediary technology in steel making has thrived over centuries because of its efficient rate of iron production at competitive costs. To meet with global demands, Blast Furnaces have evolved and made remarkable strides in terms of productivity, cost, quality and process efficiency.
Similar to the history of blast furnaces around the globe, the 5 year history of the Blast Furnace at Essar Steel Hazira has witnessed process innovations that have improved production levels and set global benchmarks.
The Blast Furnace at Essar Steel Hazira facility was commissioned in Q1 of 2011 and has since become one of the highest output producing plant globally. Designed to operate at 5,000 tons per day, the Blast Furnace surpassed its full capacity in Dec 2011. Currently, the Blast Furnace operates at 6,500 TPD and the team is determined to reach a target of 7,200 TPD by this year. This record breaking production levels can be attributed to the following:
Reduction in usage of Coke:
With increase in global demand, coke has become an expensive and scarce resource. An alternate and more efficient fuel which can be used in combination with coke is Pulverized Coal. Pulverized Coal Injection (PCI) method is becoming an internationally popular method for improving blast furnace operations. At Essar’s facility, the Pulverized Coal proportion used as fuel is up to 160 kg/thm which is at par with the most efficient blast furnaces globally.
Increasing Oxygen Enrichment:
In blast furnaces, every 1% of oxygen enrichment of hot blast improves the productivity by 2-0 % to 2.5%. The highest global record for percentage of oxygen enrichment used in any blast furnace is 18%. Essar Steel’s team at Hazira have reached the 9% mark in a relatively short period of the blast furnace’s operational history.
Meticulous selection of the raw material:
Essar Steel’s strategic advantage of backward integration to source iron pellet selection and import of high quality coke are also key factors that have contributed to the high efficiency of Essar Steel’s Blast furnaces.
Increase in production in Blast Furnace is in line with the company’s plan to achieve full production in the steel plant. This also reflects Essar Steel’s ability innovate and get more out of existing facilities which improves its competitiveness. Kudos to the Essar Steel team to achieve remarkable production levels in such a short span of time.