Feralpi Stahl invests in energy transformation

As a step in its ambitions for environmentally friendly steel production, German rebar mill Feralpi Stahl will be equipped with its own power transformation substation at its premises in Riesa, Saxony, Kallanish notes.

The German subsidiary of Italy’s Feralpi Group, formerly known as Elektro-Stahlwerke (ESW) Riesa, has lined up some €180 million ($187m) for improvement of equipment and logistics. This will include a new rolling mill, improvements in scrap handling and on-site logistics, and the power transformation substation. Site clearance for the construction will start imminently, the company says.

The mill will be partnering with Siemens Energy as technology provider, and points out a major source of emissions which it aims to avoid in future.

Until now, sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6 for short, was used in so-called gas-insulated switchgear, and is prone to escape through the smallest leakages. “These have a greater impact on the greenhouse effect than domestic air traffic,” says Henning Hamann, head of technical projects.

SF6 is the strongest known greenhouse gas, he explains. 100g have the same effect as 2.5 tonnes of CO2, and it is also broken down extremely slowly in the atmosphere, with a residence time of more than 3,000 years, 25 times as long as CO2. The new type of switchgear at Feralpi Stahl will work with “clean air” made up of natural gases nitrogen and oxygen.

Christian Koehl Germany