September 22, 2008

Japan Steelmakers Utilizing Low-Quality, Waste Materials

Tokyo, Sept. 22 (Jiji Press)--Facing higher raw materials prices, Japanese steelmakers are starting to utilize previously untapped low- quality alternatives and waste matter left over from the iron production process.

The use of such materials is now viable despite the additional processing costs, and Japanese steekmakers see the utilization of materials that would otherwise be discarded as contributing to environmental protection efforts.

Kobe Steel Ltd. has developed a technology to covert poor- quality brown coal containing high levels of water into a fuel for thermal power generation by boiling it with oil to drain the water.

The steelmaker claims its new technology helps environment conservation because the low-quality coal contains relatively low levels of sulfur and cinder.

The firm is constructing an experimental plant in Indonesia to produce upgraded brown coal. The plant with a daily output capacity of 600 tons will start operations in October.

Targeting the North American, Australian and Chinese markets, the company aims to win its first order for such a plant in fiscal 2010.

Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. have established a technology to extract iron and zinc from dust produced in the steelmaking process, by heating the dust in a furnace.

After a sixth furnace becomes operational this year, Nippon Steel will be able to recycle dust at all its steel mills.

Through the recycling, the steelmaker expects to save up to 2.24 million tons of iron ore, around 5 pct of its annual consumption, and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 0.8 million tons per year thanks to lower fuel use.

Sumitomo Metal will have the capacity to recycle dust at its mainstay Kashima Works after a second furnace there starts operation in 2009.END

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