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Hot Metal in EAFs

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U.S. raw steel production fell about 20% Availability of prime scrap and alternative
in 2001 as the slowing American economy iron sources is key to the economics and
dampened demands for automobiles and further development of the EAF process.
appliances. Higher energy costs and over- Development of EAF process is dependent
seas price competition have also dramatical- on the price of these charge
ly reduced industry profits, causing many materials. Utilizing hot metal in
steel companies to declare bankruptcy. From late 1992 to early 1994,
The current economic situation in the U.S. scrap prices increased dramatical- an EAF is one meas-
steel industry, particularly for scrap-based ly in the U.S. This was driven in
producers, requires, among other measures, large part by the growth of scrap- ure to enhance pro-
improvements in EAF conversion costs to based capacity in North America
remain competitive with imported steel. and by integrated steelmakers ductivity and reduce
Depending on the scrap cost development, deciding to use a higher percent-
use of hot metal provides several options to age of home scrap in BOF pro- conversion costs.
improve an EAF operation. Utilizing liquid duction. From 1995 to 2001, over
iron, where available, is one measure to 20 million tonnes of new EAF Other benefits are
enhance EAF productivity, while reducing steelmaking capacity was brought
conversion costs—both fixed and consum- on-line in North America alone.2 lower nitrogen and
able. Other benefits are lower nitrogen levels This dramatic increase in scrap
and residual contents in the finished product. prices disturbed the EAF indus- residual element con-
Even when not available as a short-term try, but paved the way for instal-
solution, hot metal should be evaluated as a lation of new production facili- tents in the finished
long-term alternative to scrap for reducing ties for alternative iron units and
EAF costs. development of new processes product.
The share of EAF steel production grew in to manufacture alternative iron
the last decade of the 20th century from 25 units.
to 37% of the total world raw steel produc- A stable supply of high-quality virgin iron
tion1 (Figure 1). Factors affecting this trend units continues to be a major issue for EAF
include capital costs, environmental issues flat products manufacturers, especially those
and process flexibility. EAF growth, howev- with plans to branch out into the high-qual-
er, is inhibited in some locations due to elec- ity flat product market.
tricity and virgin iron availability. As the price
of raw materials
Figure 2
Figure 1 amounts to ap-
proximately 60
to 70% of melt-
shop produc-
tion costs, steel-
makers were
relieved when
new capacities
of alternative
iron units,
mostly DRI and
EAF share of world steel production HBI plants,
is continually advancing. (From Ref. appeared. Scrap
1) prices had re- Breakdown of production costs for an EAF.
mained steady (From Ref. 7)
at a high level
This growth, along with the movement of for a while, a
EAF producers into higher quality products situation that made alternative iron units
such as flat products, as well as an insuffi- very competitive.
cient supply and increasing cost of prime During this time, many publications
scrap, resulted in a sharp increase in reported the pros and cons of alternative
demand for alternative iron units. iron units such as DRI, HBI, iron carbide,

Authors
Manfred Haissig (pictured), M. H. Consulting, Harrisburg, N.C., R. Bruce Genter (not pic-
tured), General Manager, VAII Fuchs, Canonsburg, Pa., and Bernard Villemin (not pictured),
Executive Vice President, VAI Fuchs, Willstaett-Legelshurst, Germany (manfredeaf@aol.com)

March 2002 AISE Steel Technology 41


pig iron and hot metal as charge materials in $29.12 per ton of steel, excluding the benefits
EAF steelmaking. of power generation from Tecnored offgas,
The recent slowdown in domestic steel out- could be achieved. Savings resulted from a
put also has lowered scrap prices. The reduction of $16.48 in iron unit costs and
increase in gas and electrical energy prices $12.64 in conversion costs (labor, electrodes,
has further reduced demand for alternative refractories, power and maintenance).
iron units, as their relative cost has increased. Carr4 discussed benefits of hot metal in EAF
The issue currently under scrutiny is the operation, claiming that value-in-use justified
cost-effectiveness of hot metal at low scrap the higher cost of hot metal compared to scrap,
prices. Analysis will focus exclusively on hot up to $80 per ton. The cost of charge materials,
metal and scrap as the charging material fixed cost dilution and market prices for prod-
source for an EAF. The impact of hot metal uct sold had a major impact on this value.
on charge and conversion costs, as well as Jones5 presented the value-in-use method
specific EAF productivity, will be evaluated, developed by BHP to calculate the economics
assuming a maximum residual element value of hot metal as charge material for an EAF. A
of 0.2%. The results of this analysis are heav- replacement equation (Eq. 1) for the equivalent
ily influenced by a lower residual element value of hot metal in an EAF has been present-
value and a change in raw material costs. ed by Roth6 et al. A critical review concerning
hot metal charging methodology is also given
Hot Metal Processes by Roth6 and Jones.5
The blast furnace is the standard process 1 tonne of hot metal + 25 kg lime =
route to deliver hot metal. Aside from the 0.92 tonnes of clean scrap
blast furnace, the cupola furnace has been + 50 kg coal + 330 kWh (Eq. 1)
used to produce liquid iron. During past
decades, several hot metal producing process- Jones7 further reported the advantages of hot
es have been under development (Table 1). metal charging in an EAF operation and dis-
Some of the processes in Table 1, such as the cussed different hot metal charging methods.
blast furnace, Corex, cupola and IDI have been Kaiser and Rokop8 discussed Steel Dynamics'
commercialized to produce hot metal. Other first results with hot metal produced by the IDI
hot metal processes and developments have process. Savings in energy consumption (Figure
been described in numerous publications and 3) and a significant reduction in power-on time
will not be discussed further in this analysis. were achieved with a 30% hot metal charge.
Based on results achieved with blast furnace
Literature Review hot metal at Iscor, Vanderbijlpark, Bester9 et al
Hot metal has also been discussed in numerous reported that a much higher decarburization
publications. Hickl3 discussed the theoretical rate is required to use higher amounts of hot
results that would be achieved by replacing metal without sacrificing productivity. Standard
30% of meltshop charge material with liquid decarburization rates of 0.05 to 0.07% C per
iron produced by the Tecnored process. From minute are achieved today in an EAF operation.
calculations based on replacing 30% cold virgin Trial rates of 0.10% C per minute were report-
iron units with hot metal, a total savings of ed. The 0.10% C per minute rate is the mini-
Table 1 mum required for hot metal contents of more
than 30% to maintain EAF productivity at com-
Hot Metal Technologies (From Ref. 3) petitive levels.9
The integration of a Corex module into an
Primary reduction Development
Process Fe input vessel status existing EAF facility is also discussed.10 As
shown in Table 2, energy supplied by one
IDI, fines rotary hearth commercial tonne of hot metal delivered to an EAF,
Redsmelt, + submerged implementation
Fastmelt arc furnace
Figure 3
Corex pellets, shaft furnace commercialized
lump + melter/gasifier

HIsmelt fines smelter pilot plant

Ausmelt fines smelter pilot plant

Dios fines smelter pilot plant

Tecnored fines, short shaft pilot/


residuals, furnace demonstration
DRI plant

Compact pellets, shaft furnace commercialized


blast furnace lump, sinter Electrical energy savings at Steel Dynamics
with 30% hot metal charge. (From Ref. 8)

42 AISE Steel Technology March 2002


Table 2

Energy Content of Hot Metal at 1450°C


(From Ref. 10) General
Energy in
kWh/tonne
Advantages of Hot
Wt% kWh/Wt% of hot metal Metal Additions to
Chemical heat 4.5-4.7 C 27.0 125 w/o post-
EAF Operations
combustion Based on the literature survey
0.6-0.8 Si 91.6 65 above and experiences with
0.1-0.3 Mn 20.0 4
furnaces supplied to cus-
Sensible heat 336 tomers using hot metal as
at 1450°C charge material, the following
Total energy supplied by hot metal 530 advantages can be document-
ed for the application of hot
metal in an EAF (Table 3).
The amount of energy sup-
depending on chemical composition and tem- plied by hot metal with a chemical composition
perature, equals 530 kWh per tonne of hot and temperature of that in Table 2 as the hot
metal. metal percentage increase is presented in
Rong11 et al reported that 30% hot metal in Figure 4.
the charge appeared optimum for their shaft Based on these results and the amount of hot
furnace operation. A reduction in power-on metal charged, potential reductions in electrical
time and energy consumption and a reduction energy consumption are presented in Figure 5.
in average nitrogen levels by 16 ppm resulted When scrap preheating systems are intro-
from the addition of hot metal to a shaft furnace duced to the process, additional energy
operation. reductions can be achieved (Figure 6).
Increasing the hot metal content in the
charge mix also reduces electrode consump-
Table 3 tion. In contrast, when cold DRI is
used instead of hot metal to achieve
General Advantages of Hot Metal the desired residual content, elec-
Additions to EAF Operations
trode consumption is increased
Reduced energy consumption (Figure 7).
(approx. 3 kWh/tonne per % hot metal)

Lower electrode consumption Figure 5


Higher productivity

Lower electrical power requirements (MVA)

Reduced residual contents in finished product

Operating fluctuations from obsolete scrap


eliminated and operations made consistent

Reduced nitrogen levels in finished products

Reduced greenhouse gas generation compared


to other alternative iron sources Impact of hot metal on specific electrical ener-
gy consumption.
Reduced conversion costs compared to 100% scrap

Figure 6

Figure 4

Energy supplies versus percentage of hot Specific electric energy consumption with and
metal in the charge. without scrap preheating.

March 2002 AISE Steel Technology 43


Figure 7

EAFs Utilizing use a runner or launder inserted either


Hot Metal through the slag door or the furnace side-
Currently, 24 known wall. The sidewall runner position is the bet-
EAFs worldwide (Table ter solution.
4) use hot metal as part
of their charge material. Top Charging with the Roof
Of these 24 furnaces, Swung Open
Effect of hot metal and DRI additions which range in tap Top charging allows for very short hot metal
on electrode consumption. weight from 90 to 180 charging times (two to three minutes), but
tonnes, 18 furnaces are energy is lost through radiation via the open
powered with AC trans- roof (Figure 8). The melting process of the
formers and six equipped with DC power first scrap bucket must be interrupted to
plants. Three different furnace types are charge the hot metal into the crater of the
employed—15 single-shell furnaces, three remaining scrap.
twin-shell furnaces and six shaft furnaces. There is also a possibility for slag-hot
metal interactions and resultant reactions.
Hot Metal Charging Methods Large quantities of fumes are released into
Given the considerable value of hot metal, the meltshop, and the crane is occupied for
the issue becomes charging of hot metal into several minutes during charging.
the EAF. In principle, there are two solutions.
The simplest is to swing the roof open and
Figure 8
pour the hot metal into the shell from a
ladle. The other method—preferred in terms
of economics and process technology—is to

Table 4

Known EAFs Using Hot Metal


Company Description

Europe Cockerill-Sambre one 140-tonne DC


finger shaft furnace
Unimetal one 150-tonne DC Hot metal charging through an open
furnace roof.
Huta one 100-tonne
AC furnace

Russia Severstal two 100-tonne AC


furnaces This charging method loses several min-
one 125-tonne utes of oxygen injection time, causing hot
AC finger shaft metal content to be limited for optimum pro-
furnace
ductivity. Sidewall panels may also be dam-
India Nippon Dendro Ispat two 180-tonne AC aged during charging.
furnaces

Japan Daiwa Steel one 110-tonne DC


furnace
Charging with a Hot Metal
one 120-tonne DC Launder
furnace
Kyoei Steel one 110-tonne DC
Charging hot metal through a launder is
furnace preferable, as it does not increase tap-to-tap
Mitsubishi Steel one 100-tonne DC times when the launder is installed through
furnace
the sidewall. In addition, radiation losses are
South Africa Iscor, Vanderbijlpark three 155-tonne AC minimized, and additional decarburization
furnaces time is made available, allowing larger
Iscor, Pretoria two 120-tonne AC
furnaces (using Corex) amounts of hot metal to be charged.
Saldanha Steel one 150-tonne AC The charging time must be kept as short
twin shell furnace
(using Corex)
as possible, preferably by charging hot metal
at a rate of 10 tonnes per minute to reduce
China Anyang one 100-tonne AC hot metal temperature loss. However, small
finger shaft furnace
ZSJ two 110-tonne AC amounts of hot metal must initially be
finger shaft furnaces charged to reduce oxygen content of the
ZSS one 90-tonne AC slag and avoid reactions.
shaft furnace
When the launder is mounted through the
U.S. Steel Dynamics two 150-tonne AC slag door, scrap melting must occur prior to
twin shell furnaces
charging hot metal to create a cavern close to
the slag door for runner insertion (Figure 9).

44 AISE Steel Technology March 2002


Figure 9 Figure 10

Charging hot metal through a slag door laun-


der.

Decarburization rates of various metallurgical


Another advantage of charging via a laun- processes. (From Ref. 9)
der is that the chemical composition of the
bath remains fairly constant, as the oxygen
injection rate can be matched to the hot metal given that increased hot metal usage is the
feed rate. Carbon and silicon can then be oxi- best economic solution.
dized close to the rate at which they are fed Due to high energy generation, copper
into the furnace. Continuous lime additions panels should be used in the furnace shell
are advisable when hot metal charging time and roof. Such panels are capable of with-
exceeds 10 minutes to maintain a constant standing the high heat loads generated by
slag composition, high in FeO and constant in the electric arc and the post combustion of
SiO2 and MnO—MgO content, to promote CO to CO2.
higher decarburization rates.
Decarburization occurs while scrap is in Theoretical Energy Balance
the furnace. Thus, post-combustion of CO Modeling Conditions
can be utilized to increase the scrap temper- To evaluate the economical savings of hot
ature. Available decarburization times are metal additions, an energy balance model
longest with this charging method, allowing was used to calculate production data from
optimized use of the offgas system. zero to 50% hot metal in the charge mix. For
all calculations, a decarburization rate of
Furnace Design and 0.10% C per minute was used. For the
Decarburization Limits charge mix with 40 and 50% hot metal,
Unlike a BOF vessel, the lower shell of an decarburization rates achieved at Siderurgica
EAF is not designed to allow for high decar- Pains were also used to compare results.
burization rates. A typical decarburization The EAF used in the modeling was
rate in an EAF is 0.03 to 0.07% C per minute. designed to hold 70% of the total scrap
The bath surface and mixing process of the charge required to produce one 165 ton
highly oxidized slag with the liquid steel heat. Four oxygen/gas jet burners were used
plays a major role in creating high decarbur- to preheat the scrap and decarburize the liq-
ization rates in an EAF. uid steel. The charge mix was designed to
Figure 10 presents the decarburization keep the residuals of the liquid steel con-
capabilities of various metallurgical processes. stant at 0.2%. Published scrap, DRI and pig
Consequently, EAF furnace designers are iron prices were obtained from American
advised to study the EOF process and vessel Metal Market in May 2001.
design. The EOF in operation at Siderurgica Based on these parameters, the effect of dif-
Pains in Brazil, where 70% hot metal is consis- ferent hot metal additions on production rate,
tently charged, allows for decarburization rates conversion cost, transformer requirements and
in excess of 0.25% C per minute. Two sub- the economics of the charge mixes were ana-
merged tuyeres and two sidewall lances even- lyzed. The results are discussed below.
ly distributed around the circumference of the
vessel supply oxygen to the bath. The ratio of Transformer Requirements
hearth diameter to bath depth is similar to that With increasing hot metal content in the
of BOF vessels, where a higher lower shell charge mix, less electrical energy is required
allows the bath to rise during the process. to finish a heat at the maximum decarburiza-
In contrast, the shape of the furnace shell tion rate permitted.
and distribution and efficiency of the oxygen A 122-MVA transformer is required to pro-
supply appear to be a limiting factor for hot duce 1,567,500 tonnes of liquid steel in 7600
metal for all EAFs reported in the literature. production hours for a 100% scrap charge. With
However, EAFs can be designed to allow 50% hot metal in the charge and a 0.1% C per
higher decarburization rates and larger minute decarburization rate, only 90 MVA are
amounts of hot metal in the charge mix, required. This power input is mainly used to

March 2002 AISE Steel Technology 45


Figure 11

keep the refining and Impact of Scrap to Hot Metal


superheating period short. Ratio on Productivity
A transformer size Increasing the hot metal charge mix to 40% in
reduction of 25%, under the model led to production increases. Beyond
these limits and conditions, that level however, with a decarburization rate
yielded a productivity limitation of 0.10% C per minute, power-on and
increase of 6.25%. tap-to-tap times increased in the model, reduc-
ing EAF productivity (Figure 11).
Effect of hot metal in the charge mix These model results coincided with actual
on power-on and tap-to-tap (TTT) field results. Between 40 and 50% hot metal in
times and MVA requirements. the charge mix in the model appeared to yield
optimum productivity for a standard EAF.
Such levels are slightly higher than reported
in literature, indicating
Table 5 that individual furnace
conditions, as well as
Model Predictions for a Tap Weight of 165 Tons oxygen supply and off-
gas system restrictions,
Hot metal charge mix are also likely to be
0% 10% 20% 30% 40%
limiting factors.
Transformer MVA 122 122 105 94 94 Using 30% hot metal
in the charge mix in the
Power-on time (min.) 34 31 32 31 28
model required only
Power-off time (min.) 14 14 14 12 12 one scrap bucket and
Tap-to-tap time (min.) 48 45 46 43 40
allowed for a power-off
time saving of two min-
Tons per hour 206 220 215 230 248 utes (Table 5).
Tons per year 1,567,500 1,672,000 1,635,652 1,749,767 1,881,000 Details of consum-
able costs predicted by
Total conversion cost $136.37 $133.99 $132.00 $129.66 $130.10 the model are present-
($/ton)
ed in Table 6. Electrical
energy, electrode, oxy-
gen, natural gas,
charge coal, foamy slag
coal, and lime and
dololime consumptions
Table 6
and their unit costs used in
the model are presented.
Consumable Costs Predicted by the Model
When the decarburiza-
tion rate was increased in
Cost Hot metal charge mix
basis 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% the model to 0.12% C per
minute for a 40% hot metal
Electricity $0.03/ $8.95 $8.13 $6.98 $6.08 $5.45 $4.28
kWh
charge and to 0.144% C
per minute for a 50% hot
Electrodes $1.45/ $4.06 $3.77 $3.77 $3.77 $3.19 $3.19 metal charge, a continued
lb
reduction in total conver-
Lance oxygen $0.0014/ $1.86 $1.73 $1.73 $1.73 $1.59 $1.86 sion cost was realized
scf despite an increased
Burner oxygen $0.0014/ $0.23 $0.23 $0.27 $0.30 $0.30 $0.36 charge mix cost. Under
scf these conditions, tap-to-
Natural gas $3.70/ $0.27 $0.27 $0.32 $0.35 $0.35 $0.43
tap times were also
mcf reduced and production
capacity was increased to
Charge carbon $0.10/ $3.60 $3.20 $2.90 $2.18 $0.30 $0.40
lb over two million tons per
year.
Refining carbon $0.10/ $1.06 $1.06 $1.10 $1.18 $1.20 $0.98 The model results
lb
proved that at the rela-
Lime $0.032/ $1.74 $1.70 $1.72 $1.76 $2.12 $2.41 tively low scrap prices
lb
currently in existence and
Total consumable costs $21.77 $20.09 $18.80 $17.36 $14.50 $13.91 a delivered hot metal cost
of $143.00 per ton, the
charge mix cost dropped

46 AISE Steel Technology March 2002


Table 7

Charge Mix and Cost at a Residual Content of 0.20% max.


Cost basis
($/ton) % % % % % %

Hot metal $143.00 0 10 20 30 40 50

No. 1 heavy melt $75.00 0 0 0 1 5 15

Shredded $93.00 10 10 10 10 10 15

Bushelings $95.00 30 30 30 29 29 10

Auto bundles $100.00 20 20 20 20 6 0

Home scrap $80.00 8 8 8 8 8 8

Pig iron $150.00 20 10 0 0 0 0

DRI $150.00 12 12 12 2 2 2

Charge cost
($/ton) $114.60 $113.90 $113.20 $112.30 $115.60 $118.00

until a hot metal content of between 30 and


Figure 12 40% was reached (Table 7).
Figure 12 presents the total conversion costs
predicted by the model and predicted charge
costs.

Actual Results
The advantages of hot metal as a scrap replace-
ment in the charge mix have been published.12-
15 Results achieved by finger shaft furnaces that
charge hot metal are presented.

Severstal — The finger shaft furnace at


Severstal has a capacity of 125 tonnes and a
transformer rating of 85 MVA. The charge mix
Effect of hot metal charge mix and total con- is 30% hot metal, with the hot metal charged to
version cost on charge cost at a fixed decar- the EAF through a side launder (Figure 13).
burization rate. The dashed line is the total A tapping temperature of 1660°C is required
conversion costs predicted at higher decar- because of the
burization rates. meltshop layout.
The average Figure 14
power-off time
of 17 minutes
per heat at
Figure 13
Severstal is also a
result of local
conditions.
The specific
electric energy
consumption
based on a relat-
ed tap tempera-
ture of 1620°C is Average tap-to-tap times at Severstal from
240 kWh/tonne July 1999 through Dec. 2000.
at a specific oxy-
gen consump-
tion of 40 Nm3/tonne.
The average tap-to-tap times and average
electrical energy consumptions are shown in
Figures 14 and 15, respectively.
Plan view of the finger shaft furnace with a
side launder at Severstal. ZSJ — The 110-tonne finger shaft furnace at
ZSJ is powered with a 65-MVA transformer
and has been using increasing amounts of hot

March 2002 AISE Steel Technology 47


Figure 15 Figure 17

metal. The hot metal is


charged into the EAF via a
side launder (Figure 16).
The effect of hot metal
quantity in the charge on
electrical energy consump-
tion and power-on time
Average electrical energy consump- can be seen in Figures 17
tion at Severstal in 2000. and 18, respectively. A
reduction in power on time
of 0.3 minutes per hot
metal percent increase can Power-on time versus hot metal content at
Figure 16 ZSJ.
be achieved. An average
electrical energy reduction
of 4 kWh per hot metal
percent increase achieved Figure 18
at this operation coincides
with values given in the lit-
erature.

Summary
Different hot metal charg-
ing methods for EAFs were
View of hot metal being charged presented, with preference
through a side launder at ZSJ. given to the sidewall laun-
der method.
From available literature,
25 to 30% hot metal in the charge appeared
optimum. It was determined that a decarburiza-
tion rate limit of 0.1% C per minute was the lim-
iting factor regarding hot metal usage. Based on Electrical energy consumption versus hot
the authors' experience with EOF operations— metal content at ZSJ.
where decarburization rates of 0.25% C per
minute are achieved—the EAF geometry must
be specifically designed for higher amounts of sented at a Gorham/Intertech Conference, Atlanta,
Ga., Nov. 3-5, 1999.
hot metal in the charge to obtain optimum pro- 8. Kaiser, K., and Rokop, N., "Operational
ductivity and economic performance. In addi- Experience: Hot Metal Charging at SDI," presented
tion, oxygen must be supplied and distributed at a Gorham/Intertech Conference, Atlanta, Ga.,
evenly around the EAF shell circumference. Nov. 3-5, 1999.
9. Bester, D., Kaspar, S., and Pirkelbauer, W., "The
Substantial savings can be achieved when VAI Integrated Compact Mill (ICM) Concept, Using
hot metal is used as a scrap substitute in EAF the Corex-EAF Technology," Metall. Plant
operations, even with low scrap prices. Technology Int., 18, (1), Feb. 1995, pp. 40-42, 44.
10. Corex Goes Minimill, Voest-Alpine
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48 AISE Steel Technology March 2002