Tata Steel Europe: Improving energy efficiency through the economic crisis
The global economic downturn has had a major impact on the European steelmaking industry, with steel demand collapsing at the end of 2009 by 44% compared to the previous year.
Tata Steel Europe launched a company wide programme ‘Weathering the Storm’ to offset the impact of falling demand, which included adjusting production and implementing a programme of cost saving measures.
Weathering the Storm generated cost savings of more than £700 million. Flexible production to take account of energy tariffs, and thereby reducing energy costs, was one of the major contributors. However, the programme also brought about numerous low or zero cost measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
During this time of reduced production, Tata Steel Europe’s energy engineers took advantage when process lines were idle to identify the equipment that makes up their energy base load, for example cooling fans, motors and dust extraction. Also, electricity voltage is often higher than necessary, so a rolling programme to optimise voltage was started at a number of facilities.
Voltage optimisation is useful to improve energy efficiency and to reduce electrical energy costs and CO2 emissions. At just one of Tata Steel Europe’s rolling mills alone, by achieving a 2.5% voltage reduction, 4,000kW of power was saved – equivalent to 1,693 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Procedures are now in place to identify all equipment that can be turned off when lines are stopped, saving even more energy and CO2.
Last updated: June 2010