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Introduction

Over the past two decades


n!
the use of electric arc furnaces
(EAFs) for the production of
steel has grown dramatically
in the UnitedStates. In 1975
EAFs accounted for 20% of the
steel produced; by 1996 the
figure had risento 39% and
by the year 2000 (or shortly
thereafter) could approach
50%. There aretwo major

L Liquid Bath
reasons for thistrend-lower Arc Ignition Period Molten Metal Formation
capital cost for an EAF steel- (Start of Power Supply) Period
making shop and significantly
less energyrequired to Tapping Spout
produce steel by theEAF
versus the blastfurnace/basic
Hot Swt I-l!
oxygen furnace method of
the integratedsteelmaker.
EAFs range in capacity from
a few tons to as many as 400
tons, and a steelmaking shop
can havefrom one to five
furnaces. In brief, EAFs can be
either ac or dc powered and
they melt steel by applying
current to a steel scrap charge
Long Arc ! Short Arc ! Bath ‘
by means of graphiteelec- Main Melting Period Meltdown Period Meltdown-Heating Peiiod
trodes. It requires about360
to 400 k w h of electricityto melt Figure 1. SteelMelting Cycle.
a ton of steel; consequently,
these furnaces use a tremendous intensity arc during meltdown.
quantity ofpower. Transformer Typical Steelmaking Cycle Subsequently, the arc is lengthened
loads mayreach 150 MVA. by increasing the voltage t o maxi-
Figure 1 shows a typical heat mum power. Most modernfurnaces
The features of EAFs are
cycle, commonly referred t o as the are equipped with water-cooled
described in a prior CMP ”tap-to-tap cycle”, for theEAF. The panels in the upper half of the
TechCommentarytitled cycle starts with the charging sidewall, rather than refractories,
“Introduction to Electric Arc of the furnace with steel scrap. After which allow for longer arcs and
Furnace Steelmaking” (TC-107713). the furnace is charged and the roof higher energyinput to the furnace.
The purposeof thisTechCommenraw is in place, the operator lowers the In the finalstage, when there isa
(TC-107714) is to give utilitiesa electrode or electrodes, eachof nearly complete metal pool, the arc
more comprehensive understand- which has its own regulator and is shortenedto reduce radiation
ing of the electrical operations mechanical drive. Current is initiat- heat lossesand t o avoid refractory
and energyusage, and to review ed and the electrodes bore through damage andhot spots. After rnelt-
some ofthe innovations that are the scrap to forma pool of liquid down, oxygen is injected to oxidize
making theEAF a very energy- metal. The scraphelps to protect the carbonin the steel or the
efficient steel melter. the furnace lining fromthe high- charged carbon. In some opera-
1OOO-

900-
800
700

600
-

-
Utm-High

I
Examples

Ttim
Nucor Hidaan
chaparral
Northstar/BHP

CO-Steel Raritan
Inland
w 6045%
Chemical

High
ooo- Lukens

400
Ameri-Steel
300 - Medium Caparo Steel
200
Low
100

~~ ~~

Figure 2. EAF Power Classifications. Figure:3. Energy Patternsin an Electric Arc Furnace.

tions, oxygen injectionis started hours to 70-80 minutes for the effi-
as soon as a liquid pool of metal cient melt shops. Continuing Oxygen Usage
is formed. The decarburization advancements in EAF technology
process is an importantsource now make it possible to melta heat Much ofthe EAF productivity
of energy. In addition, the carbon of steel in less than one hour with gain achieved in the past decade
monoxide thatevolves helpsto electric energy consumption in is related to increased oxygen use.
flush nitrogenand hydrogen out the range of 360 to 400 kWhhon. With the increased availability of
of the metal. It also foams the slag, EAF operations utilizing scrap lower cost oxygen dueto newair
which helps to minimize heat loss preheating such as the CONSTEELQ separation technologies, oxygen
and shields the arc-thereby reduc- Process andthe Fuchs Shaft fur- use in the EAF has grown. Oxygen
ing damage to refractories. nace can achieve evenlower cycle usage has increasedfrom about
times. Most new EAF shops now 300 scfhon (8.8Nm3honne)in 1985
aim for tap-to-tap times of betweento as much as 1300 scfhon (37.4
Energy Needs 50-60 minutes. These times are Nm3honne),saving 50 to 100 k w h
rapidly approaching those for basic of electric energy per ton ofsteel
The International Ironand Steel oxygen furnace operations used in produced and reducing tap-to-tap
Institute classifies EAFs based on integrated steel mills. times by3 to 6 minutes. The rela-
the power supplied per ton of fur- tionship betweenelectric energy
nace capacity. Thepower classifica- Charge Materials and oxygen consumption for the
tion ranges andsome representa- EAF is shown in Figure 4. It is now
tive furnace installations are shown In the past, EAF shops essen- common for between 30 to 40%
in Figure 2. Most modernEAFs tially charged100% scrap to the of the total energy input
to the EAF
found insteelmaking shopsare at furnace. Although mostEAF steel- to come from oxy-fuelburners and
least 500 kVA per ton and the trend makers producing longproducts, oxygen lancing.
is toward ultra-high-power furnaces such as rebar and merchant bar, Oxy-fuel burners are currently
in therange of 900 to 1000 kVA per continue to use all scrap, some standard equipment onEAFs. The
ton offurnace capacity. EAF shops today are supplement- first use of burnerswas for melting
A typical energy balance ing thecharge with other materials the scrap at the slag door wherearc
(Sankey diagram) fora modern EAF for producing higher quality prod- heating was fairly inefficient. In
is shown inFigure 3. Depending ucts. This is the case for some ultra-high-power (UHP) furnaces,it
upon the meltshop operation, about producers of high-qualitybars and is common for“cold spots” to exist
60 to 65% of the total energy iselec- highly formablesheet products in the areas lying between the
tric, the remainder being chemical for automobiles. These charge electrodes on the periphery of the
energy arisingfrom the oxidation of materials include direct reduced furnace bottom. Burnersare often
elements such as carbon, iron, and iron, iron carbide, and pig iron. installed to help meltscrap in these
silicon andthe burning of natural For more informationon scrap cold spots. This results in more
gas with oxy-fuelburners. About quality and direct reduced iron see uniform meltingand decreasesthe
53% of the total energy leaves the CMP Report 95-1. The trend toward time requiredto reach a flat bath.
furnace in the liquidsteel, while the the use of direct-reduced materials Also, burners are beneficial for heat-
remainder is lost to the slag, waste will continue to grow as more ing the cold spot around the tap
gas,and cooling. I high-quality scrap containing low hole of eccentric bottom tapping
Just a decade ago tap-to-tap levels of residuals or undesirable furnaces. Typically burners are
times haddecreased from over 2 elements becomes scarce. installed in the side wall and roof of

TechCommentarv 2
bath declines as more burned in the fourth holeevacua-
heat is radiated from tion system conveying the off-gases
the arc to the side- from the furnace to the baghouse.
walls. By covering the The heat ofcombustion of CO to
arc in a layer of slag C 0 2 is three times greater than the
the arc is shielded and heat of combustion of C to CO.
more energy is trans- Thus, this represents avery large
ferred to the bath. potential energy sourcefor theEAF.
Oxygen injected with If theCO is burnedin the EAF it is
granular coalor car- possible to recover the heat while
bon produces carbon reducing the heatload on the off-gas
monoxide (CO) which system. This is called post combus-
foams theslag. In tion. Results of studieshave shown
some cases, only car- that bypracticing post combustion,
bon isinjected andit i.e., injecting oxygeninto theEAF to
reacts with the iron burn theCO to COz, 35 to 60 percent
oxide in the slag to of the heat in the off-gas can be
5 6,
350 produce CO. This is recovered. EAF operators are now
5 called afoamy slag moving toward adopting this
practice and is now practice and typicalelectric energy
0 600 1200 commonly used by savings are about 0.1 kWh/scf
Oxygen Consumption EAF operators. When (4 kWh/Nm3) of oxygen injected).
(Standard cubic feetper ton) foamed, the slag cover
normally increases EAF Bottom Stirring
from 4 inches (0.1
-igure 4. Eleptrical Energy vs. Oxygen Consumption. meter) to 12 inches For conventional ac furnaces
(0.3 meter) thick. there is little natural electrically
the furnace as well as in the slag Claims for thermal efficiency range induced turbulencewithin the bath
door. Productivity increases of5 to from 60 to 90% with slag foaming compared to dc furnaceswhich
20% have been reported from the compared to 40% without foamy have more convection stirring.If
use of burners. slag. If a deepfoamy slag is there is little bath movement, large
Oxygen lancing has also achieved, it is possibleto increase pieces of scrap can take a long time
become anintegral partof EAF the arc voltage considerably. This to melt and may require oxygen
melting operationsover the past allows a greater rateof power input. lancing. The conceptof stirring the
decade. Modern furnaces use Slag foaming is usually carried out bath isnot a new one and records
oxygen lances to cut scrap, decar- once aflat bath isachieved. indicate that electromagnetic coils
burize (refine) thebath, and foam However, with hotheel operations were used for stirring trialsas early
the slag. Energy savingsdue to (residual liquid steel in the furnace as 1933. Today most EAF stirring
oxygen lancingarise from both bottom) it is possibleto start foam- operations use inert gas as the stir-
exothermic reactions (oxidation of ing muchsooner. ring medium. The gas is introduced
carbon and iron) and due to the through the bottom of the furnace
stirring of the bath which leads to
temperature and composition Post Combustion using porousplugs. In a conven-
tional ac furnace, three plugsare
homogeneity ofthe bath. Oxygen
CO gas is producedin large used with a plug located midway
lances can beof two forms, water between each of thethFee elec-
cooled andconsumable. Water- quantities in the EAF both from
oxygen lancing andslag foaming. trodes. Primarily argon or nitrogen
cooled lances are generally usedfor
decarburizing; however, in some If the CO is notcombusted in the gases are used; however,some
cases they are usedfor scrap cut- furnace freeboard thenit must be trials havebeen conducted with
ting. The first consumable lances
were operated manually through
the slag door. Today, remote-
controlled lance manipulators are
available to optimize the injection
process. Theserobotic units, Figure
5, can be usedwith multiple, indi-
vidually controlled,consumable
lances for scrap burning and decar-
burizing, as well as for injecting
oxygen, carbon, and lime.

Foamy Slag Practice


At thestar! of meltdown the
radiation from thearc t o the side-
walls is negligiblebecause the elec-
trodes are surrounded by the scrap.
As melting proceeds, the efficiency
of heattransfer t o the scrap and Figure 5. Lance Manipulator.
3
TwhCornrnentarv
natural gas and carbon dioxide. existing furnace electrics. A good transformer secondary voltageis
Advantages for bottomstirring foamy slag practice canallow volt- increased (sometimesto as high as
include yield increases of0.5 to 1%, age increasesof upto 100% without 800 to 1100 volts) allowing operation
average tap-to-taptime savings adversely affecting flare to the fur- at higherarc voltages andlower
of about 5 minutes, energy savings nace sidewalls. Energy losses can electrode currents. Some of the
of about 10 to 20 kWhhon, and be minimized whenreactance is benefits attributedto ac operation
reduced electrodeconsumption. associated with the primary circuit. with supplemental reactanceare:
Supplementary reactors are
More stable arcthan for
Scrap
Preheating being used to increase the operat- standard operations.
ing voltages on the EAF secondary
Electrode consumption
Of the total energy consumedcircuitbyconnecting a reactor in reduced by 10%.
directly inEAF steelmaking,
about 20% normally leaves Secondary voltage
increased by 60 to 80%.
the furnace in the waste
gases, see Figure 3. The loss
can exceed 130 kWhhon of DC Furnaces
steel produced. A significant
portion of thisenergy can be Utility System: In recent years a number
recaptured by using theoff- - Generation of dc furnaces have been
gas to preheat the scrap. Two - Distribution installed. Essentially, the
methods for preheating equipment needed fordc
scrap, the CONSTEEL@ melting has the same configu-
Supply Metering
process andthe Fuchs shaft ration as that of a convention-
furnace have beeninstalled Substation: al ac furnace shown inFigure
on several new installations - Transformer 7. The exceptions are the
in recent yeap. TheCON- - P.F. Correctidn
- Surge Protection addition of a bottom electrode
STEEL@process utilizes a E - Supplemental Reactors (anode), a dc reactor, and a
conveyor to continuously E thyristor rectifier all of which
feed scrap into theEAF. Hot add to the cost of thedc fur-
H.V. Distribution
furnace gases leaving the (Cables) nace. These furnaces useonly
EAF travel countercurrentto Furnace Metering one graphite electrode with
the scrap on the way to the the returnelectrode installed
baghouse thereby preheating in the bottom the of furnace
the scrap. The Fuchs furnace and operate with a hot heel
has a shaft situated on top of Furnace Transformer
practice in order to ensure an
the EAF which holds ascrap
electrical path to the return
charge that is preheated by
_IMetering for Arc electrode. Figure 8 shows sev-
the off-gases rising up Regulation
through theshaft. Energy eral types of returnelectrodes.
usage has been reducedby Secondary Conductors These include conductive
15 to 20% over conventional refractories with a copper
EAF operations usingthese external base plateand the
technologies. multipin typemade upof con-
ductive rodspassing through
the hearth and connected to
High Voltage AC a bottom steel plate. A third
Operations type consists of oneto four
R= Resistance X,= Inductive Reactance large diametersteel rods fit-
Some EAF steelmakers X,= Capacitive Reactance Zo= Arc Impedance ted in the furnace bottom, the
have retrofitted theirshops steel rods being water cooled
and installed new power where they emerge from the
supplies to obtain higher furnace. During startupfrom
operating voltages. An ac cold conditions, amixture
furnace electrical circuit is Figure 6. Simplified Schematic of the acEAFArcCircuit. of scrap and slag is used to
shown inFigure 6. Energy provide an initial electrical
losses in thesecondary circuit are series with the primary windings of
the EAF transformer. This allows path. Oncethis is meltedin, the
dependent on thesecondary circuit furnace can be chargedwith scrap.
reactance and to a greater extent operation at a powerfactor of
approximately 0.707 which is the Advantages claimed for dc furnaces
on thesecondary circuit current. If over ac furnaces include:
power can besupplied at a higher theoretical optimum for maximum
voltage, the currentwill be lower circuit power. This ismade possible 50% reduction in elec-
for thesame power inputrate. because a large storage deviceis trode consumption.
Operating with a lowersecondary placed in thecircuit, which in effect 5 to 10% reduction in
circuit currentwill also give lower acts as an electrical flywheel during power consumption.
electrode consumption. Thus, it is operation. The insertion of the
series reactordrops thesecondary Reduced refractory
advantageous to operate at as high consumption.
a secondary voltage as is practical. voltage to limitthe amount of
power transferred to the arc. In order Uniform melting.
Of course,this is limited byarc flare
to the furnace sidewall and the to compensate for this, the furnace 50% reduction in flicker.

Techcommentary 4
very little loaddisturbance, and the
steelmaker can have considerable
Voltage
Hiah n flexibility in configuring his internal
plant powersystem. Most utilities
-
rC I
require power factorcorrection.
Shops with large EAFs would more
than likely use static capacitors;
synchronous condensers of suffi-
cient capacity would be prohibitive-
ly expensive for amultifurnace
shop. Before such systems are
installed, transient analysis is
required to determine:
1) Capacitor bankconfiguration.
AC Furnace 2) Need for harmonic tuning of
sections.
3) Switching procedure (Thisis
important to avoid a power
High Voltage AC Line factor penalt and does not
1
eliminate flicer).
As mentioned earlier, use of dc
EAFs and improved operating
practices such as scrap preheating,
foamy slags, and use of hotheels
all workto reduce flicker. If addi-
tional regulation is needed, installa-
tion ofa static var control(SVC)
may be required. Many EAF shops
have installed SVC systems not
only to minimize flicker problems
but also to increase productivity.
DC Furnace
~~

Ladle Refining Furnace


Figure 7. Layouts for ac and dc Furnaces.
During the past decade, the
EAF has evolved into a fast and
W low-cost melter ofscrap with the

Graphite
Electrode
P

T icI major objective being higherpro-


ductivity in order to reduce fixed
costs. In addition, refining opera-
tions to improve product quality
are (for the most part) carried out
in a ladle refining furnace(LRF).
This allows the EAF to concentrate
on melting the scrap and removing
impurities via oxidation reactions.
Temperature and chemistry adjust-
0 0 0 ments are carried out more
SinMulti-Pin
Conductive le Piece
optimally in the LRF. For more
Refractories Metallic detallic
Conductor conductor information on the operation
and role of the LRF see CMP
TechCommenrary CMP-071.
Figure 8. Bottom Electrode Designsfor dc Furnaces.
EAF Dust
Many ways exist to reduce the The dust exiting the furnace
Reducing Electrical effects of arc disturbances. These with theoff-gases has been classi-
Disturbances are determined by the utility system fied as a hazardous waste (KO61
to which the furnace furnaces
or are by the Environmental Protection
The melting process involves to be connected,and theyare influ- Agency (EPA) becauseit can con-
the use of large quantitiesof energy enced mainly by thesize and stabili- tain lead, cadmium, chromium,
in a shorttime (1-2 hr) andin some ty of the power grid. Some sizable and nickel. As a result, the dust
instances the process has caused shops requireno particular flicker must be treated prior todisposal
disturbances (flicker & harmonics) control equipment. It is quitepossi- in order to meet EPA requirements.
in power grids but this problem is ble that, if a furnace shop is fed There arevarious methodsfor
being minimized with the installa- from a 220 kV or higher system with treating thedust-for more infor-
tion of modernfurnaces and a short-circuitcapacity of 6500 MVA mation onthese processes refer
improved operating practices. or more, the utility will experience to CMP Report93-1.3
TechCommentan. 5
”Design Criteria For the ModemUHP Electric “New Tools for Improved Operation of High
Arc Fumece W t h Auxiliaries”, Be man K., Efficiency ElectricArc Furnaces”,Aderup M.,
2
Gottardi R., 3rd European Electric tee1
Congress, 1989.
Ljunggren R., Frisk L., Anderson F?Gustafsson
,
A., Samuelsson F?,1992 Electric Furnace
Proceedings.
Direct Current Electric Arc Furnaces,CMP
TechCommentary CMP-063, January 1991. “Optimal Distribution of Oxygen in High
Efficiency ArcFurnaces”, Gripenberg H.,
Electric Arc Furnace Dust-1993Overview, Brunner M., Iron andSteel Engineer, July 1990.
CMP Report 93-1, July 1993.
“Oxy-Fuel Burner Technologyfor Electric Arc
Electric Arc Furnace Efficiency,
CMP Report Furnaces”,Wells M.B., Vonesh F.A., Iron &
92-10, December 1992.
Steelmaker, November, 1986.
“ElectricArc Furnace Technology, Recent
Developments and Future Trends”,Teoh L.L., “Reflections on the Possibilities and
lronmaking and Steelmaking, Vol. 16,1989. Limitations of Cost Saving in Steel Production
in Electric ArcFurnaces”, Klein K., Paul G.,
“Giving EAFs the Shaft to Recoup Energy”, Metallurgical Plant and Technology,Vol.1,
33 Metal Producing, November 1990. 1989.
Ladle Refining Furnaces, CMP Review of New lronmaking Technologiesand
TechCommentary CMP-071, August 1991. Potential for PowerGeneration, CMP Report
“New Developments in ElectricArc Furnace 95-1, February 1995.

The Electric Power Research Institute The EPRl Center for Materials LEGAL NOTICE
(EPRI) conducts a technical research Production (CMP) is an R&D application This TechCommentarywas prepared
and development programfor the center funded by The Electric Power and sponsored by The EPRl Center
U.S. electric utility industry. EPRl Research Institute andoperated for Materials Production (CMP).
promotes the development ofnew by Carnegie Mellon Research Institute, Neither members ofCMP nor any
and improved technologies to help Carnegie Mellon University. CMP is a person acting on their behalf
the utility industry meet present and service of the Industrial and Agricul- (a) makes any warranty, expressed or
future electric energy needs in envi- tural Technologies and Services implied, with respect to the use of
ronmentally and economically Business Unit of the Customer Systems any information, apparatus, method,
acceptable ways. EPRl conducts Group of EPRI. The mission of the or process disclosed in this
research on allaspects of electric Center is to discover, develop, and deliv TechCommentaryor that such use
power production anduse, including er high value technological advances may notinfringe privately owned
fuels, generation, delivery energy through networking and partnership rights; or (b)assumes any liabilities
management and consewation, with theelectricity industry. with respect to theuse.of, or fordam-
environmental effects, and energy ages resulting from theuse of, any
EPRl information, apparatus, method, or
analysis. Preston Roberts, Manager,
process disclosed in this
Materials Production and Fabrication
TechCommentary.
CMP
Joseph E. Goodwill, Director
I

This TechCommentarywas prepared by


Dr. Jeremy Jones, Consultant. It supercedes
a 1987 TechCommentarywith a similar title.
Technical review was provided by Robert J.
Schmitt, Associate Director at CMP, and
Joseph E. Goodwill, Director of CMP. Edited
by JohnKollar, CMP

The EPRl For additional copies of this Techcommentary


Center for call ECAC 4 1-800-4320-AMP
Materials
Key Words: ElectricArc Furnace, Electrical
Production Operations
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