Scenario for near-term implementation of partial capture from blast furnace gases in Swedish steel industry
Conference contribution, 2019

Iron-and-steel making is a carbon-intensive industry and responsible for about 8% of global CO2 emissions. Meeting CO2 reduction targets is challenging, since carbon is inherent in the dominating production route in blast furnaces. Long-term plans to phase out carbon and change production technique are under way, such as iron ore reduction with hydrogen[1][2] won from renewable energies or electro winning[3], however unlikely to be implemented at scale before 2040 [4]. Until a transition to such technologies is completed, carbon leakage will remain to be a threat to steel industry inside EU ETS system. CCS remains an option for steel industry to comply with reduction targets and meet rising allowance (EUA) prices, currently above 20 €/t. Most studies on CCS propose a capture rate of ≥ 90 %[5–7], however, CCS could be considered as a part of a series of measures (e.g. fuel change, energy efficiency measures) that together achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions until a carbon-neutral production is in place. This line of thought motivates the concept of partial capture, where only the most cost effective part of the CO2 emissions are separated for storage [8]. In steel industry, high CO2 concentrations at large flows and the availability of excess heat make partial capture attractive. Previous work on the steel mill in Luleå, Sweden, emits around 3.1 Mt CO2 per year, has found that 40-45 % of site emissions can be captured fueled by excess heat alone[9]. Therein, five heat recovery technologies were assessed, ranging from back pressure operation of CHP turbine to dry slag granulation. Promising CO2 sources on site include flue gases from hot stoves and the combined-heat and power plant, and the process gas originating from the blast furnace – blast furnace gas (BFG). BFG is a pressurized, low value fuel used for heating on site. CO2 separation from BFG requires less reboiler heat for MEA regeneration, and the enhanced heating value of the CO2 lean BFG increases energy efficiency of the steel mill [9].
This work discusses the near-term (the 2020s) implementation of partial capture at a Swedish steel mill and the economic viability of such implementation dependent on the energy price, carbon price, and required reductions in CO2 emissions. Based on previous work [9][10,11] on partial capture in steel industry a cost estimation of a capture system for the BFG is conducted including CAPEX and OPEX of the MEA capture unit, gas piping, and recovering heat from the steel mill. The costs are summarized as equivalent annualized capture cost (EAC) and set into relation to transport and storage costs as well as carbon emission costs to form the net abatement cost (NAC) according to Eq. (1)
𝑁𝐴𝐶=𝐸𝐴𝐶+ 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡&𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡 −𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑏𝑜𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑒
Figure 1 shows how EAC for BFG varies with the capture rate and the cost of steam for different heat recovery technologies represented by the steps in the curve ( see explanation in [9]). Note that partial capture from BFG is more economical than the full capture benchmark. The most cost-efficient case of 28 €/t CO2 captured is achieved for BFG capture fueled by steam from back-pressure operation (at the expense of electricity production), flue gas heat recovery and flare gas combustion. The transport and storage cost applied in Eq (1) represent ship transport from the Bothnian Bay to a storage site in the Baltic Sea , according to Kjärstad et el.[12]. Transport and storage cost range within 17 – 27 €/t CO2 depending on scale.
These installation and operation cost for capture, transport and storage are set into relation with various scenarios on future carbon and energy (electricity) prices in Europe and Sweden. For example, Figure 2 illustrates a scenario in line with IEA’s sustainable development scenario to restrict global warming to 2°C. The carbon prices are adapted from WEO 2018 [13] and increase from 20 € to 120 € per tonne CO2 by 2040 and the electricity prices of 42-52 €/MWh (increasing with time) are based on latest results from the NEPP project [14]. In this scenario, partial capture from BFG could become economic viable in 2029, construction in 2020 with operation from 2022/23 onwards is likely to pay off within a lifetime of 20 years only. This work demonstrates the viability of partial capture as cost-efficient mitigation measure for the steel industry and illustrates conditions for an early implementation in the 2020s.
This work is part of the CO2stCap project (Cutting Cost of CO2 Capture in Process Industry) and
funded by Gassnova (CLIMIT programme), the Swedish Energy Agency, and industry partners.

blast furnace gas

partial capture

amine absorption


steel industry



Max Biermann

Energy Technology 3

Fredrik Normann

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Filip Johnsson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Mikael Larsson

David Bellqvist

Ragnhild Skagestad

Hassan Ali

10th Trondheim Conference on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage
Trondheim, Norway,

Cutting Cost of CO2 Capture in Process Industry

Swedish Energy Agency, 2015-07-01 -- 2019-08-30.

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