The major companies of the Group have therefore introduced environmental management systems and are continually developing measures for the improvement of environmental protection at their respective locations. The Steel and Tubes divisions are the areas most relevant for the environment within the Salzgitter Group. Apart from the consumption of energy and resources, other important environmental issues include here recycling, the use of byproducts, maintaining clean air, water consumption, along with water and soil protection.
In comparison with other materials such as carbon fibers, steel displays an exceptional level of recyclability. There is virtually no impairment to its quality during the process of recycling. From the standpoint of conserving resources and energy consumption considerations, scrap lends itself well to the production of new steel. Salzgitter AG therefore makes optimal use of scrap in the production of crude steel. The construction of a second electric arc furnace at the Peine site and its commissioning in 2011 has raised the recycling rate1) achievable in the Steel Division by around 7 %.
1) Volume of scrap used per crude steel volume in relation to the production capacities available
In the production of pig iron and steel at our Salzgitter and Peine locations, we focus not only on the quality of the steel but also on that of the byproducts. Processing them in a targeted way means that we are ultimately contributing to lowering CO2 emissions. Having realigned processes and distribution in recent years, we now recycle the vast majority of our blast furnace slag, more than 700,000 tons a year, into ground granulated blast furnace slag. This is used instead of clinker in the cement industry. For every ton of ground granulated blast furnace slag used to produce cement, almost one ton of CO2 is saved in comparison to the CO2- intensive production of clinker.
Around 85 % of the water used in the Steel and Tubes divisions is consumed by the integrated steelworks of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH (SZFG). Consequently, the economical use of water and water protection plays a significant role here. The water used by SZFG in production processes is sent round in circulation systems. In 2011 the volume of cooling water required in production cycles was reduced by around 10 % compared with the previous year, with a major contribution coming from the modernization measures that formed part of the "Salzgitter Steel 2012" investment program.
Our endeavors to keep the air clean are paying off: One example is the size of the existing filter surface in secondary metallurgy at the steelworks that was extended by 25% to 4,400 m2. Hence, dust values have fallen significantly below the prescribed statutory limit. Moreover, in 2010 we commissioned a state-of-the-art process gas purification system in the sintering plant, which also helps to reduce dust emissions considerably. All in all, these emissions were lowered at SZFG by around two thirds over the period 2001 through 2011.