Approximately 60–70% of the direct greenhouse gas emissions in electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking originate from the use of fossil carbon charge during melting of steel scrap. Regarding short-term solutions to mitigate the climate impact of steelmaking, there is greater potential to replace fossil carbon charge with renewable carbon in the EAF than in integrated blast furnace steelmaking where mechanical strength requirements on carbon charge are too demanding. Therefore, the present study aims to provide an experimental and practical foundation for using renewable biochar in the EAF as a relatively simple step to decrease the climate impact of steelmaking.
In order to evaluate the inherent performance of biochar as a carburizing agent, lab-scale tests where completed using four different types of carbonaceous materials: synthetic graphite, anthracite coal and two types of biochar from woody biomass (BC1 and BC2). The first order dissolution rate constants from experiments ranged between 0.7 to 1.9 × 10−4 m/s, which agrees well with previously reported results. Furthermore, lab-scale results show that biochar properties commonly seen as detrimental, such as low carbon crystallinity and high porosity, do not necessarily constitute a disadvantage for biochar utilization as carburizer in steelmaking.
In order to further assess the results from lab-scale tests, an industrial trial including six consecutive heats was performed in a 50 t EAF at the Höganäs Halmstad Plant. Results show that 33% substitution of standard Anthracite carbon charge with biochar BC2 gave no deviation from normal operating conditions in the EAF.
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