Tata Steel taps Emerson for Wales plant upgrade
Austin, Texas – Tata Steel’s Port Talbot facility in Wales has upgraded control of its largest steam boiler using energy management technologies and services from Emerson Process Management.
The new controls are to enable Tata to increase energy efficiency and maximize use of waste fuels, reducing emissions as well as the sheet steel making operation’s reliance on purchased fuels.
The Port Talbot facility is the UK’s largest integrated steel mill, making over 4.5 million tonnes a year of sheet steel. It includes two blast furnaces and a basic oxygen furnace, as well as continuous casters and a strip rolling mill. To date Emerson has upgraded controls on three of the site’s seven steam boilers.
“The boiler upgrades are helping us make better use of ’indigenous’ waste fuels – such as blast furnace gas, BOS gas and coke oven gas – that are byproducts of our manufacturing process,” said Andrew Rees, manager of the upgrade project for Tata Steel.
“The improved controls are part of a comprehensive energy management project that’s expected to reduce powerhouse energy consumption by three to five percent and help Tata Steel achieve its vision of becoming energy self-sufficient,” Rees added.
“Using waste fuels is an attractive way to reduce costs and emissions, but it’s also challenging because of their variable energy content,” said Chip Rennie, director of Emerson’s global industrial energy group. “Emerson’s technology significantly reduces the effects of that variability so users can maximise low-cost fuel use - while consistently meeting steam demands.”
At Port Talbot, Emerson conducted a study to identify opportunities for improving powerhouse operations, as well as providing an integrated combustion control, burner management, and energy management solution.
This included Emerson’s SmartProcess Energy and SmartProcess Boiler optimisation technologies, DeltaV digital automation system with model predictive control, DeltaV SIS process safety system, Rosemount and Micro Motion measurement instruments, Fisher control valves, and Bettis and Hytork valve actuators.
Emerson also trained Tata’s operators using a simulator installed in the powerhouse, enabling them to gain experience with the new controls without affecting operations.
The boilers had previously required frequent attention by plant operators and the use of supplemental natural gas to compensate for the varying energy content of the waste fuels. After the upgrade, operational stability has greatly increased, and energy costs have decreased as better use of waste fuels has reduced the need for natural gas.
Using more waste fuel to power the boilers instead of burning it in flares also helps reduce emissions. And the new safety system enables an orderly process shutdown if necessary.