Tata Steel UK restarts kiln at Cumbrian lime site

Tata UK has restarted production at a lime kiln, Kiln 4, at its Shapfell site in Cumbria, northwest England, after a £4 million refurbishment to reline it was completed, in a move to boost energy efficiency across all its supply chain, the company said in a statement.

Over a 12-year period, Kiln 4 will produce nearly 1.5 million mt of calcium-rich lime, a product that is key to improving the quality of steel as well as removing impurities during steelmaking.

The products will be used in Tata Steel’s Port Talbot mill in South Wales, the company’s largest operational site, which has a capacity of 5 million mt/year of crude steel production, a spokesperson told Platts on Jan. 17.

“We have four kilns at the Shapfell site (which has been operating normally). This kiln was mothballed some time ago, but we have brought it back as another one is due to end its campaign soon,” the spokesperson said.

It took 10 months to complete the refurbishment of Kiln 4, which was mothballed in 2016.

According to the release, a hot gas blower system — instead of traditional wood — which is used to give increased control and provide reduced and cleaner emissions had been installed, allowing Tata Steel to save on overall energy use and costs.

“This investment has led to a crucial upgrade for the site…We had an opportunity to bring it back on stream to cover production as another kiln comes to the end of its normal lifespan, while also using new technology which means we’re being more sustainable and cost-effective,” John Baird, Shapfell’s operations manager, said.

Tata Steel, the largest UK steel producer, aims to produce net-zero steel in the country by 2050 at the latest and to have cut CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030. The vast majority of that work will happen at Port Talbot.

Tata Steel is a partner in the South Wales Industrial Cluster which is examining a range of options to reduce emissions, from carbon capture to hydrogen.

— Annalisa Villa