CORDIS - EU research results

SEWGS Technology Platform for cost effective CO2 reduction the in the Iron and Steel Industry

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - STEPWISE (SEWGS Technology Platform for cost effective CO2 reduction the in the Iron and Steel Industry)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2019-04-30

The Iron and Steel, together with the cement industry, has hard-to-avoid CO2 emissions. The Iron and Steel industry alone is responsible for an annual output of 2.5-3.0 GtCO2/yr, with up to 10% originating from within the European Union. This represents 6% of total CO2 emissions, and 16% of total industrial CO2 emission. Moreover, a continuous average growth-rate of more than 3% per year is expected for the Iron and Steel industry in the foreseeable future. To avoid long-term climate change, every industrial sector must look to improving energy efficiency and decreasing C-footprint, as reaffirmed in the COP21 negotiations. The technology developed in the STEPWISE project has the potential to decrease CO2 emissions worldwide by at least 1.5 Gt/yr based on current steel industry emission levels, with options for the same technology going forward that can decrease emissions even more.
The STEPWISE project has at its heart the SEWGS technology (Sorption-Enhanced Water-Gas Shift), using solid sorbents for CO2 capture in combination with water-gas shift and acid gas removal. In the STEPWISE project, the goals is to scale-up the SEWGS technology for decarbonization of Blast Furnace Gases (BFG) to TRL 6 with three overall demonstration goals:
• Higher carbon capture rate for steel gas related power production
• Higher energy efficiency
• Better economy
These goals have been reached, see figures below. A SPECCA of 1.95 MJ/kgCO2 and a CO2 avoidance costs of 32.4 €/tonCO2 are obtained, representing reduction rates of 62% and 28% relative to the today performance for post combustion amine technology. The energy content of residual gases from iron and steel production is used for internal heating in the steel plant (about 55%) and external electricity production (about 45%). Using STEWISE technology in the electricity production, the simple integration, the total carbon intensity decreases to 1.26 tCO2/tsteel. The intensified implementation, i.e. deep carbonization internal use and electricity production, results in 0.60 tCO2/tsteel.
These results mean a significant reduction of the risks associated with the technology scale up.
In the STEPWISE project, the Sorption Enhanced Water-Gas Shift (SEWGS) CO2 capture technology is brought to TRL6 by the design, construction, operation and modelling a 14 tCO2/d capacity pilot installation. The advanced CO2 removal technology using regenerative solid adsorbents is demonstrated using industrial-sourced Blast Furnace Gas.
The pilot testing represents the first time that three key components in the STEPWISE technology chain are coupled together: an industrial syngas source, syngas pre-processing with advanced water-gas shift, and CO and H2S clean-up with simultaneous CO2 removal in the SEWGS reactor.
Great progress has been made on the required materials. The KATALCO 71-6 WGS catalyst is demonstrated suitable for applications involving BFG processing. Pilot operation confirmed operating at a reduced steam consumption without loss of activity or significant by-product formation in the presence of 15 ppm H2S. Reduction in steam requirement significantly enhances the process efficiency and economics and is an important driver for the commercialization of the SEWGS technology.
The HT-PSA CO2 adsorbent was shown to separate CO2 – H2 with the targeted single-column efficiency of >90% CO2 removal, >90% CO2 product purity at <1 mol steam per mol CO2 removed. Simultaneous deep desulphurization of the H2 product was demonstrated. The sorbent was produced using industrial procedures and equipment, surpassing the targeted production rate of over 10 tonne/day. This is the first time that this amount of sorbent has been produced by the principal manufacturer in Europe. Pilot testing showed modest temperature effects under adiabatic conditions during the SEWGS cycle, allowing increased flexibility for the optimum column temperature and the CO inlet content. Furthermore, pilot operation showed that the high temperature valves are not critical for the commercialization of the technology.
The techno-economic analysis was based on the design and costing of a full-scale system at +/- 30% accuracy. It shows that STEPWISE technology doubles the CO2 avoidance rate compared to amine-based post combustion CO2 removal under the assumption of zero fuel import, at a SPECCA of 1.95 MJ/tCO2 and a CO2 avoidance costs for the Iron and Steel plant of 32.4 €/tCO2. An overall CO2 avoidance rate of 37.2% is reached for the simple integration of the STEPWISE technology, treating the residual steel gasses to the powerplant. This simple integration is an early implementation option for initial decarbonization of the power plant, enabling future decarbonization routes to be implemented later. Without importing external sources of energy, an intensified integration of STEPWISE technology into the steel making process allows for avoidance rates up to 74%.
Moreover, the first detailed relative Life Cycle Analysis of the STEPWISE technology indicates significant reduced overall environmental impacts compared to post-combustion amine technology, and future directions to lower environmental impact further.
The business plan considers that reaching TRL7 requires multi-column operation and long-term demonstration. The preferred roll-out is via joint development programs combined with a license agreement. As public engagement plan, a roadshow was developed to inform stakeholders.
During the project, 100 dissemination actions are realized, targeting stakeholders from the scientific community, policy makers, industry and industrial suppliers and the general public. A highlight is two presentations at the world’s premier conference for carbon capture technology at the Green House Gas Technology conference in Melbourne, Australia where the main highlights of the STEPWISE project were disseminated.
The Iron and Steel industry cannot easily and significantly reduce its carbon footprint solely by switching to renewable energy, and relies on implementation of several mitigation options. CCS technology can play a major role and be part of the ultimate goal of low carbon steel. The STEPWISE CO2 capture technology has been brought to TRL6 within the Iron and Steel industry. All CCS implementations come with an energy penalty, by increasing the CO2 capture rate and the lowering the specific energy consumption with respect to state-of-the-art post-combustion amine-scrubbing technology, the STEPWISE goals are reached. For the implementation of the STEPWISE technology in the Iron and Steel industry, a SPECCA of 1.95 MJ/kgCO2 and a CO2 avoidance costs of 32.4 €/tonCO2 are obtained. Moreover, compared to the implementation of amine scrubbing technology, twice the CO2 avoidance rate is obtained using STEPWISE technology under the assumption of zero fuel import and much lower environmental impact factors are obtained in the life-cycle analysis.
The implementation of STEPWISE technology has large potential. The conservative estimate is that by 2050, a potential cost saving of 750 times the research costs for this project will be realized each year every year, with a much larger potential. The overall objective is to secure jobs in the highly competitive European steel industry, a sector employing 360 thousand skilled people with an annual turnover of €170 billion.
STEPWISE integration - simple
STEPWISE project logo, square version
Stepwise results - specca
STEPWISE project logo, long version
Stepwise pilot picture
STEPWISE integration - intensified
Stepwise results - C-intensity
Stepwise results - costs