Case Study

Plasma Furnaces: Enabling Steelmakers to Properly Dispose of Dust Streams

Production of stainless steel presents challenges to clients including high disposal costs, loss of valuable elements and landfill shortages that may require operational shutdowns. Harsco presents an innovative solution.

Background

During the production of stainless steel, about 25-30kg of fine dust is generated by the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) and Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD) processes, per ton of steel produced. 

This dust stream, collected by the primary and secondary Steel Melt Shop de-dusting systems, contains valuable alloy elements such as nickel, chromium, molybdenum, manganese, iron and zinc in their oxide forms. The downside: the dust steam is classified as a hazardous waste, requiring the steelmakers to properly dispose of it if not valorized.

Disposal costs have increased significantly during the past several years, costing clients approximately 300–350€/ton or more depending on landfill availability.  As facilities can only maintain a limited volume of this waste on site, as a temporary deposit, any landfill shortage may result in an operational shutdown if disposal cannot be accommodated.