Construction well underway for novel industrial-scale biomass gasification plant
In Höganäs, Sweden, construction is well underway for a novel industrial-scale biomass gasification plant at Höganäs AB, a metal powder and powder products manufacturer. Being built by biomass gasification technology developer Cortus Energy AB, it is the world's first plant for an industrial-scale demonstration of fossil-free steel production based on gasification of biomass with new technology.
In Höganäs AB’s industrial site in Höganäs, the 14-meter high gasifier is in place. Intensive construction work is underway since the ground breaking ceremony that took place in November 2017 to complete the plant before the inauguration, which is slated to take place in June this year.
At Höganäs, the biomass gasification plant will produce a gas from forest raw materials that will replace fossil gas used in Höganäs production process.
The facility has the capacity to reduce Höganäs carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 10 000 tonnes per annum. But in a first stage, the intention is to demonstrate how the new fuel works in the heat treatment of steel. In addition, the aim is to spread the technology so that the entire industry can phase out fossil fuels, said Magnus Pettersson, Project Manager at Höganäs AB.
An idea becomes reality
Until now, there have been no alternatives to fossil fuels in the iron and steel industry, but Cortus Energy has developed a technology that it says meets the demands of manufacturing processes, including producer gas cleanliness and high temperatures. It was an idea that was born by Cortus Energy’s founder and CEO Rolf Ljunggren in 2006 and is now fast becoming a reality in Höganäs.
We have developed and studied the technology at our test facility in Köping since 2011, but this is the first time we build an industrial-scale plant. This means that we have scaled up the test facility twelve times for Höganäs initial needs. We have employed eleven people to run the plant, to begin with. After the startup, some of them will be integrated into our process team, said Rolf Ljunggren CEO at Cortus Energy.
Assuming that the project is successful, the technology has the potential to revolutionise the steel industry’s efforts to phase out the use fossil gas and coke used in production.
The investment, which is in the order of SEK 100 million (≈ EUR 9.8 million), is an important step in spreading the technology to more companies within manufacturing and processing industry while contributing to the overall reduction of society’s CO2 emissions, something that is of interest for businesses around the world.
There is a lot of interest and everyone is waiting to see the first industrial facility when it is opened in June. At our facility in Köping we have had visitors from all the Nordic countries, as well as France, the Netherlands, USA, Japan, China and Russia, said Rolf Ljunggren.
About the Höganäs - Cortus project
Iron and steel production requires high temperatures and clean fuels that do not contaminate the product. Until now, fossil solutions such as oil and gas have been used as fuel and coke as a raw material for the process. The new plant in Höganäs will use forest-based fuels, such as leftovers and energy forests, as raw materials. The plant is based on WoodRoll technology and replaces fossil fuels through efficient gasification of biomass.
The plant in Höganäs will in the first step produce energy gas and will eventually be supplemented to produce bio-coke. Funding is based on a combination of contributions from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s “Climate Step” fund and Swedish Energy Agency, as well as capital from Cortus Energy and Höganäs. Industrial partners are ABB, Calderys, SSAB and Södra. The plant means that Höganäs CO2 emissions will decrease by 3 percent as a first step.