UK’s CPL Industries delivers ‘ecoke’ to Spanish steelmaker Sidenor for trials

UK solid fuel producer CPL Industries has delivered a first truckload of around 25 mt of “ecoke,” a manufactured fuel containing a minimum of 30% renewable biomass, to Spanish special long products steelmaker Sidenor for an industrial-scale trial, CPL Industries said Aug 3.

With a crude steel capacity of around 1 million mt/year, Sidenor will use the biofuel directly in its electric arc furnace at its Basauri works in northern Spain over the next few weeks, replacing anthracite or coke either partially or fully, according to Robert Baker, CPL Industries’ business development manager.

The steelmaker is understood to currently consume around 15,000 mt/year of coke and/or anthracite.

CPL Industries is also in discussions with various other steelmakers and ferroalloys producers in the UK and across Europe on trials of the biofuel which may potentially reduce their current emissions levels by 30%, Baker said in an interview with S&P Global Platts’ Commodity Insights.

The biofuel – produced using materials including charcoal from certified sources – can provide steelmakers with significant reductions in their carbon costs, he said.

“It’s abundantly clear there’s an appetite for this kind of fuel, which can be used with existing steelmaking and handling equipment,” Baker said. “It’s absolutely plug and play”.

Biofuels may be seen as an interim, or partial, solution for steel industry decarbonization for the next 15-20 years until green hydrogen becomes more readily available to the sector, Baker said.

Liberty Steel UK is expected to formalize an arrangement for regular ecoke supplies with CPL Industries next month following trials at Liberty Speciality Steels’ Rotherham special steelworks in May.

— Diana Kinch