We initiated a groupwide project in 2011 with the aim of improving energy efficiency on a sustainable basis and conserving resources. The starting point and first component of this endeavor is an up-to-date and extensive analysis of consumption incorporating the relevant processes within the Group. The second focus is on investigating possible ways of using renewable energies and looking into how we can use the potential of unavoidable process waste heat. An analysis of energy procurement, aimed at optimizing the Group's procurement structures, is an integral part of this process. The final component, which consists of the further development of an energy management system across the whole Group, is to render the ongoing improvement of energy efficiency both transparent and measurable.
The Energy Efficiency (EE) Program of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, introduced back in 2009, is an example of how ecological and economic improvements can go hand in hand. Under the EE Program, energy saving potential is identified, evaluated and implemented in all production areas. As a result, CO2 emissions have been reduced by almost 150,000 tons and a savings effect of around € 9 million achieved up to and including 2011. From 2012 onward, we anticipate a cost reduction of € 12 million a year.
Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH runs its own power plant to supply electricity and steam for production processes in the steelworks. Process gases (cogeneration gases) generated as a byproduct in the coke plant, blast furnaces and steelworks are optimally used as a source of energy, thereby making an important contribution to climate protection. Salzgitter AG has invested around € 270 million in total in a complete overhaul of its power plant and raised the plant's energy efficiency even further. The two new generating units were taken into operation at the end of 2010 and apply the principle of combined heat and power generation. Whereas the company previously produced around 70% of the steel mill's electricity requirements, it is now supplying virtually all of the power itself. Steam and electricity in the power plant is generated almost entirely without buying in fuel externally and is especially efficient in conserving resources.
Salzgitter AG is investing in an innovative belt casting technology (BCT) for the near-net-shape casting of steel. Construction work began in Peine in 2011. BCT technology makes significant savings on energy and CO2 in comparison with conventional continuous slab casting where the liquid steel is continuously cast and then rolled into the desired final dimensions. Large volumes of energy are needed for reheating and rolling between the stages in the process. In contrast, the BCT method is based on a fundamentally different concept. Steel is cast in a thickness of 8 to 15 mm directly under inert gas on a cooled strip and then rolled. The low casting thicknesses and the possibility of integrating rolling into the process consumes far less energy.
The process technology, developed jointly together with the Clausthal University of Technology and SMS Siemag AG, enables the production of innovative high-performance steels such as HSD® steel (High Strength and Ductility).
Cutting-edge steel products are indispensable for the transition to a new energy era and for the planned expansion of renewable energy sources. Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH (ILG) has successfully participated in the construction of wind turbines for many years now. With an extensive program of investments, we ensured that the Salzgitter Group had the preconditions in place at an early stage for the production of heavy plate for offshore wind turbine foundation constructions, some of which weigh more than 1,000 tons. To this end, a new continuous casting line that can manufacture slabs up to 350 mm thick as feedstock material for the production of heavy plate was installed at the Salzgitter site. Moreover, modifications to the facilities are to be carried out under the "ILG 2015" investment plan to push the production of heavy plate to the limits of the Ilsenburg rolling mill's dimensional capacity. We have further optimized the logistics infrastructure as a flanking measure.