Energy Efficiency and Iron and Steel Production Sep09

Energy Efficiency and Iron and Steel Production...

Energy Efficiency and Iron and Steel Production  In the recent years, the need for a more rational and efficient use of energy has emerged as a strategic and urgent issue. Such a necessity is particularly perceived in the iron and steel production, not only because of the increasing costs of energy, but also as a consequence of the competition, which stresses some features of the process and its final products (e.g. cost and quality). Also, the rational use of the energy resource may be regarded as a twofold issue, a first aspect being related to the achieved consciousness of the limited availability of energy, regarded as a source, and the second being represented by a mature appreciation of the costs born to procure energy. Globally, ever increasing consumption of energy has gone hand in hand with rising concerns about its conservation. Apart from being expensive and prone to sudden price fluctuations, the overwhelming majority of energy sources are non renewable. Therefore, the conservation of energy is considered vital not just to avoid wastage of a precious resource, but also to slow down the rapid depletion of coal, oil, and natural gas resources. However, with the environmental movement gaining ground in the past 30 years, the ramifications of unsustainable energy use are no longer confined to economics alone. As the bulk of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a result of fossil fuel burning, conservation of energy is today intrinsically linked to the climate question. As halting fossil fuel use is not an option without the viability of alternative sources, the only way to reduce energy use and manage emissions is therefore to maximize its efficiency. Since the iron and steel industry presents one of the most energy intensive sectors within the economy of any country,...