East Chicago, Indiana
Cleveland-Cliffs and Primary Energy identified an opportunity to reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of Cleveland-Cliffs's blast furnaces by substituting pulverized coal for a significant portion of the coke, natural gas, and fuel oil used in the iron production process. The two companies established a joint venture to build, own, and operate an onsite pulverized coal processing and injection facility.
Combined Pulverized Coal and Blast Furnace Gas
The use of pulverized coal to replace a portion of the coke (also natural gas and fuel oil) in the blast furnace has substantial economic benefits. A ton of pulverized coal can be substituted for between .75 to .95 tons of coke, but the price differential between coke and coal ranges from 2 to 4 times depending on the metallurgical coke and coal markets.
The project also uses waste heat from the blast furnace stoves to dry the coal, thus eliminating the need to burn natural gas and thereby further avoiding air emissions. Finally, blast furnace gas has a higher Btu content with coal utilization as opposed to coke, thus increasing the energy recovery potential for producing process steam and electricity.