Liberty Steel UK completes ecoke trial in move to cut emissions

Liberty Steel UK has successfully completed ecoke trials at its Rotherham site as part of the company’s processes to identify opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions, the steelmaker said Oct. 18.

Ecoke is a manufactured fuel containing a minimum of 30% renewable biomass that can replace anthracite – the main source of carbon in electric steelmaking – and cut the carbon footprint of steel by as much as 30%, Liberty said.

Ecoke briquettes are delivered to site in similar packaging to anthracite and then charged into the electric arc furnace in the same way via the scrap basket, the company said.

“The success of Liberty’s ecoke trials is a major step forward for our Greensteel strategy,” Liberty Speciality Steel Plant Manager at Aldwarke Cast Products Scott Jackson said. “The major reductions in CO2 emissions ecoke enables, without any downside to the production process, can help to further decarbonize our production and the wider steel industry.”

Not only would the use of ecoke cut emissions, but it could also save costs due to a reduction in carbon credits, the company said.

After considering all available options, Liberty’s Rotherham team identified UK-based solid fuel producer CPL Industries as its local ecoke supplier.

CPL Industries has also delivered ecoke in August to Spanish special long products steelmaker Sidenor for an industrial-scale trial, S&P Global Commodity Insights reported earlier.

“Ecoke provides an immediate path to decarbonization, and we are committed to a program of product development and investment to deliver further advances in biofuels in order to exceed industry expectations for the coming years,” CPL Industries Solid Fuels CEO Jason Sutton said.

Liberty Steel UK is the third-largest steel manufacturer in the country, with nine sites across England, Scotland, and Wales, and steel rolling capacity approaching 3 million mt/year.

Its Rotherham works have primary and secondary EAF steelmaking facilities, with production at its Rotherham generating just 10% of the direct emissions compared with a traditional blast furnace.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the weekly UK hot-rolled coil price at GBP700/mt ($790.34/mt) DDP West Midlands Oct. 17, down 15.7% from the start of 2022.

— Annalisa Villa