Düsseldorf, June 22, 2022. Recycling is part of everyday life in Riesa, and has been for 30 years: FERALPI STAHL produces around 1 million tons of structural steel annually in the Saxon city on the Elbe. The plant, which belongs to the Italian Feralpi Group, has big plans:
Over the next few years, more than 160 million euros will be invested to make the steelworks, which is one of only two in Germany to carry the EMAS seal, even more efficient and environmentally friendly. Even though most of the emissions are already well below the legally prescribed limit values and in some cases can no longer be measured at all, FERALPI STAHL is continuously investing in further reduction options. The goal remains the green steel, according to works director Uwe Reinecke. Despite a steel works that, with its electric arc furnace, rolling and wire works, is one of the largest energy consumers in Bavaria. "We will identify strategies for electronics procurement and production," says Reinecke. To this end, FERALPI STAHL also works with innovative start-ups, such as Smart Steel Technologies (SST) from Berlin: Automated processes are optimized with the help of artificial intelligence. The SST Temperature AI monitors temperatures throughout the production process, providing real-time temperature predictions and recommendations. This reduces unnecessary temperature fluctuations, which in turn stabilizes the production process from steel production to continuous casting and thus lowers the overall temperature level in production.
Last but not least, energy and supply security is a major issue. However, FERALPI STAHL is not alone in this in the region - and relies on synergies. "We have formed a community with companies from the neighborhood - including Wacker Chemie, the Gröditz forge, Mannesmann Zeithain and Ervin in Glaubitz - the energy and hydrogen alliance in the Meissen industrial zone. Around 1.2 TWh of electricity is consumed in this region each year, which is more than 8 percent of the consumption in all of Saxony. We would all be interesting hydrogen consumers and therefore important partners in the energy transition in Bavaria. If these companies replaced natural gas with hydrogen, around 220,000 tons of CO2 could be saved,” says Reinecke. FERALPI STAHL intends to test the use of hydrogen in the plant in the near future.
The creation of a real connection point from the central H2 pipeline of the industrial arch to the hydrogen route planned by the state would be possible by 2027 - but it only makes sense if the hydrogen is cheaper than electricity and gas, emphasizes Reinecke. "And it should be made with renewable energies, otherwise we can't produce 'green steel' either."
Meanwhile, things are getting hot for the implementation of another major project on the factory premises. On July 6, 2022, the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for a new additional rolling mill will take place, the plant is to work with reduced CO2. With two rolling mills in the future, FERALPI STAHL will be able to produce more: "Instead of around one million tons, our output should increase to 1.25 million tons of steel products per year," says Reinecke.
FERALPI STAHL can be found at the fair at stand D44 in hall 12.