Ljubljana and Ravne na Koroškem, Thursday, 26 August 2021 – In mid-August of this year, working in partnership with the Jožef Stefan Institute and international partners involved in the ETEKINA international project, SIJ Metal Ravne, a member of SIJ Group, successfully launched the pilot device for recovery of excess heat generated in the steel production process. The innovative heat exchanger designed in the form of heat pipes ensures a minimum of 40% recovery rate of excessive heat in an energy-intensive industry.
SIJ Group’s steel producer from the city of Ravne implemented an innovative device to recover the excessive technological heat generated in the top-quality steels production process. Together with the Jožef Stefan Institute – the Energy Efficiency Center (IJS – CEU) and Brunel University London, as part of the four-year international pilot project ETEKINA (heat pipE TECHnologies for INdustrial Applications), SIJ Metal Ravne implemented innovative heat pipe technology with the aim of achieving the ambitious target of over 40 percent recovery rate of excessive heat.
The ETEKINA project is part of the innovation research programme EU Horizon 2020 - Europe’s largest European programme for promotion of innovations. This programme brings together ten companies and institutes from all over Europe, working closely together to combine their knowledge and experience to improve energy efficiency in energy-intensive industries. Within the framework of the ETEKINA project, three prototypes are being tested in three different energy-intensive industry environments, specifically in the steel sector (Slovenia), the aluminium sector (Spain) and the ceramics sector (Italy).
In the pilot project, SIJ Metal Ravne began using the energy of exhaust flue gases from the Allino furnace as an excess heat source. Where before flue gases with a temperature of 450°C were released freely into the atmosphere, we are now able to take advantage of it with an efficiency rate of 47%, which is above the projected 40% target. Most of the heat will be fed back into the furnace itself as a heated fresh air, and the rest will be used for heating on SIJ Metal Ravne premises. Besides effective use of energy, we will also reduce our CO2 emissions by approximately 388 t per year,” explains Kristijan Plesnik, Head of Investments at SIJ Metal Ravne.
The heat exchanger units designed in the form of heat pipes were developed by experts from Brunel University London, and for this reason their expert and project coordinator, prof. Hussam Jouhara was present for the launch: “The launch of the first of three pilot machines for ensuring effective energy recovery in energy-intensive industries as part of the ETEKINA project was a success. The device does not interfere with the industrial process, which is of utmost importance in all heat recovery devices.”
"Cooperation between IJS-CEU and SIJ Metal Ravne on the ETEKINA project is a good example how to connect the science and industry and transfer the knowledge and innovation in order to improve energy efficiency in the industry. We were able to confirm the technology of using heat pipes for using the excess heat in an energy intensive sector,” said Dr. Fouad Al-Mansour, Head of the Research Group and Project Leader at IJS-CEU.
Alojz Buhvald, Executive Director of Steel Processing, adds: “Since 2015, SIJ Metal Ravne has been taking advantage of excess heat produced in the process of cooling the electric arc furnace in the steel mill, and we have been working with a distributor to provide remote heating for the municipality of Ravne na Koroškem, and for heating the swimming pools of the Ravne na Koroškem Sports Center. We will use the excess heat produced by the Allino furnace for internal purposes. Together with the experts from the Brunel University and the Jožef Stefan Institute, we will continue efforts to identify other untapped potential in our production process.”
According to unaudited financial figures, SIJ Group generated sales revenues amounting to 212.3 million EUR in the first quarter of 2021 (a 10.1 percent increase year-on-year), and an EBITDA of 17.9 million EUR (a 29.4 percent increase year-on-year). In the first quarter of 2021, the Group earmarked 15.0 million EUR for investments (double the preceding year). In the first trimester of 2021, SIJ Group was profitable and generated a profit of three million.
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SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Anja Potočnik, Specialist for Media and Internal Communications,
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