NLMK Group has started to install equipment for pulverized coal injection (PCI) unit its two largest and the most productive blast furnaces of its Lipetsk plant, namely blast furnace No. 6 with a capacity of 3.1 million tonnes of pig iron per annum and blast furnace No. 7 with a capacity of 4.3 million tonnes per annum.
This technology involves co-injecting natural gas and fine coal particles into the blast furnace. Replacing expensive raw materials with cheaper alternatives, such as switching from coking coal to steam coal, reduces the cost of pig iron production approximately by 5%.
This is the second project for the implementation of PCI at NLMK. It will cover more than 90% of the blast furnace capacity of the company. Previously, this technology was introduced at blast furnace No. 5 (3 million tonnes p.a.) and blast furnace No. 4 (2.1 million tonnes p.a.) in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Konstantin Lagutin, Vice President for Investment Projects, said: ‘Our ongoing project to implement PCI technology is an integral part of our overall Strategy 2017 program to boost operational efficiency and cut costs. The use of this technology on the blast furnaces No. 4 and No. 5 allowed the company to save about $14 million in 2015, having optimized the blast furnaces operation. The new unit allowed for 20-30% reduction in the consumption of expensive coke and more than 50% reduction in the consumption of natural gas. We expect that the new PCI facility, which we plan to launch in H1 2017, would lead to even more impressive results.’
In addition to the installation of the main process equipment, mills and the main fans, there are steel structures to be assembled at a newly built facility as well as ongoing works in car tippler building No. 1, nitrogen preparation site and raw coal supply conveyor.
PCI project capex for the two blast furnaces will amount to 6.5 billion rubles.