Ardersier Port Authority (AP) plans to build a £300 million ($400m) electric arc furnace-based ‘green’ steel plant powered by offshore wind and energy from waste by 2027. It will utilise 1 million tonnes/year of domestic scrap, some of which will be generated by the onsite oil rig decommissioning facility.
This would make the plant the UK’s first greenfield steelworks since the Sheerness Steelworks, on the Isle of Sheppey, Sheerness, was commissioned by owners Co-Steel in 1972, AP points out.
“The energy transition from offshore structures to floating wind has an important missing factor: steel,” Ardersier Port owner Tony O’Sullivan says in a note seen by Kallanish. “Today, the UK exports ten million tonnes of scrap steel annually. By building a new renewable-powered electric arc furnace at Ardersier Port, the first new-build steel mill in the UK for 50 years, we will utilise a million tonnes of scrap each year. This will produce reinforcement steel for the UK construction industry, of which there is currently a shortfall, allow for the onsite construction of floating wind platforms, and enable us to export green steel to global markets.”
Scotland-based Ardersier Port’s new owners plan to turn it into Europe’s first fully circular “Energy Transition Facility”. The site used to be one of the largest oil rig fabrication yards in the world. Now, the owners are about to begin a £20m, nine-month ‘capital dredge’, to remove 2.5 million cubic metres of sand to open up the port once more.
Besides the steelworks, the site will include an oil rig decommissioning facility, waste from energy recovery facility, a concrete production plant, and a dedicated floating wind hub for concrete floating wind foundation manufacturing.
The steel plant will be the only place in the world where the scrap from decommissioning is processed into steel. AP expects to recover over 100,000 t/y of steel scrap from the decommissioning of ageing oil and gas industry assets.
AP has an agreement with BW Ideol to give it exclusive access to the port for the manufacture of floating wind foundations. “In comparison to steel foundations, floating wind offers a unique opportunity to combine both price competitiveness and local manufacturing, thanks to BW Ideol’s unique concrete floater solution,” says BW Ideol chief executive Paul de la Gueriviere.