Canadian Consulting Engineer

Goodfellow EFSOP Technology in Japan

Topy Industries' factory in Toyohashi, Japan produces steel products for the domestic, North American and Asian markets. Japanese steel makers are investing in technology to improve their competitive ...

October 1, 2007   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Topy Industries’ factory in Toyohashi, Japan produces steel products for the domestic, North American and Asian markets. Japanese steel makers are investing in technology to improve their competitive edge, and they have an increased awareness of their environmental responsibilities. The company therefore decided to implement Tenova Goodfellow’s EFSOP process optimization technology into their electric arc furnaces.

Goodfellow “EFSOP” is an acronym for “Expert Furnace System Optimization Process.” This proprietary technology is a system for optimizing electric arc furnace operations. The technology was developed in Canada and received funding from Natural Resources Canada and the Ministry of Environment & Energy. It is now installed in 27 locations in 10 countries: Canada, U.S., Mexico, U.K., Italy, Spain, France, South Africa, South Korea and Japan.

The technology’s environmental benefits include reduced emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx), and it reduces the use of non-renewable energy such as coal and natural gas. The safety benefits include reducing hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) levels, which lessens the risk of furnace explosions. By improving the plant operators’ control of the process, the technoogy allows for a more consistent and higher quality product, for higher productivity and lower conversion costs. Based on conservative estimates, EFSOP can produce energy savings of up to 20 kilowatt hours per ton of steel.

System components

The EFSOP technology’s key components are a patented water-cooled probe, a heated sample line, a continuous gas analyzer system, and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) computer.

The water-cooled probe has been developed to survive the harsh electric arc furnace environment, reaching a lifespan of over one year. The probe is custom designed and positioned to ensure accurate measurement of the furnace off-gases.

The off-gas sample is drawn to an analyzer cabinet through a heated sample line to minimize condensation of the water vapour in the sample. A rugged conditioning system cleans the sample through filters and condenses the water vapour out of the sample. Off-gas measurement signals from the analyzer are then sent to the PLC. The analyzer has more than 40 unique features developed from experience at various installations. It is reliable, with an uptime typically above 90%, and it needs only one or two hours of maintenance each week.

Project timeline

The project at Topy Industry’s factory began in May 2005 with a kick-off meeting at the steel plant to discuss the implementation schedule and detailed engineering requirements. The EFSOP equipment was installed and commissioned in October 2005, with optimization starting in November 2005 and performance targets achieved in January 2006.

Overcoming language barriers

In recognition of the language differences between Tenova Goodfellow staff and the plant’s personnel, a professional translator was brought in during the installation and optimization phases of the project in order to ensure that plant staff understood the technology and procedures.

Achievements at Topy

Typically electric arc furnace melt shops use natural gas as a fuel source. However, the Topy plant used kerosene, which resulted in the formation of water and large amounts of hydrogen. The EFSOP system was effectively used to analyze and understand these combustion reactions.

Topy had also made efforts to use the heat generated from oxidation reactions such as aluminum ash, which provided a notable improvement in the production efficiency of the electric arc furnace. However, this use of heat created other issues, such as an increase in non-combustible gas emissions. The EFSOP technology was used to deal with this issue by analyzing the off-gases, which increased the optimization of the melting practice.

The EFSOP performance achieved an 18% reduction in carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced use of non-renewable energy resources with a 45% reduction in kerosene consumption and 13% reduction in coal consumption.

Greater safety within the furnace environment was also achieved with a 10% reduction in carbon monoxide and a 42% reduction in hydrogen, which has significantly reduced the risk of explosions.

At the same time, Topy Industries has benefited from annual cost savings of $1,500,000 by using the EFSOP technology.CCE

Name of project: Goodfellow EFSOP project at Toyohashi Factory, Topy Industries, Japan

Award-winning firm/prime consultant: Tenova Goodfellow, Mississauga, Ont. (Marshall Khan, P.Eng., Ovidiu Negru, P.Eng., Vittorio Scipolo)

Owner: Topy Industries


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