In recent years, India’s iron & steel production has maintained rapid growth on an on-going basis. In 2018, India surpassed Japan to become the world’s second-largest iron & steel manufacturer after China with an annual crude steel output of 106.5 million tons. —
Compared with China’s major blast furnace ironmaking process, with non-coking coal and non-metallurgical coke as the main ironmaking raw materials, India mainly produces direct reduced iron, accounting for about 44% of the pig iron output. Given that the direct reduced iron process is not suitable for large-scale production and that India lacks coking coal, India has great potential for the long-term development of blast furnaces. The iron & steel industry in India is highly concentrated; in 2016, the steel CR3 level reached 44%, and large steel mills including JSW and TATA hit the level of world-class level. Currently, oxygen-enriched coal injection for blast furnaces in India has followed the trend of China’s iron & steel industry in choosing oxygen generation technologies. In 2016, PKU Pioneer’s VPSA oxygen generation process was applied for blast furnaces for the first time in India. Subsequently, PKU Pioneer successively built multiple sets of VPSA oxygen units, all of which are used for oxygen-enriched blast furnace ironmaking, for large Indian iron & steel groups including JSW, JSPL and BPSL.
Diversified Oxygen Enrichment Solutions
Oxygen enrichment plays the most important role in the production increase of blast furnaces. Despite that Indian iron & steel companies have practiced oxygen enrichment technology for a long time, they began to popularize and promote oxygen enrichment before the blast furnace (BF) blower only a few years ago. Part of the reason is that they can only choose oxygen enrichment after the blower, combining VPSA oxygen generator with the compressor, due to the limitation of the BF blower to the oxygen purity and operating conditions.
After recent decades of development, VPSA oxygen generation technology has been very mature. PKU Pioneer's VPSA oxygen equipment has advantages including high efficiency, simple process, easy operation, strong flexibility and high safety with unattended operation allowed. Compared with cryogenic air separation, VPSA oxygen generation technology can greatly lower the energy consumption, thereby reducing the ironmaking cost. It's a more advanced & economical choice for oxygen generation. Indian iron & steel mills have fully applied the advanced experience of China iron and steel companies in oxy-coal injection into blast furnace, recognizing the process & solutions of partial use (subject to the limitation of blast furnace blower) or complete use of oxygen enrichment before the BF blower, which can not only save the investment on oxygen compressors, but also save more energy.
1. Oxygen Enrichment Before Blower
If the maximum oxygen enrichment rate of the blower could reach 30%，sending oxygen into blast furnace system by the suction of the BF blower is the most suitable oxygen enrichment technique for blast furnaces. In line with the oxygen demand of iron & steel mills, the systematical solutions of PKU Pioneer’s VPSA oxygen system in conjunction with oxygen enrichment before the blower has shown great maturity, including the VPSA oxygen plant, oxygen pipeline system with flow and pressure control device, security nitrogen pipeline, oxygen mixing devices at the inlet of the blast furnace blower, and system control device, etc. The fluctuation of the oxygen-enriched air concentration after the mixer can be controlled within 0.5% through the joint control of the system, and a series of safety precautions including real-time monitoring of the oxygen purity at the blower inlet, automatic flow adjustment, automatic oxygen cutoff & nitrogen charging protection in emergency situations are available to maximumly ensure oxygen enrichment under normal conditions and full safety in emergencies.
2. Big Difference in BF Oxygen Enrichment Rates
Every 1% increase of oxygen enrichment rate witnesses at least 3% growth in the output. Most companies in the world reckon that the enriched oxygen volume for blast furnaces shall be controlled within 30%. With the growing public acceptance of oxygen enrichment before the blower in India, oxygen enrichment rates ranging from the lowest 4% to the highest 9% are all applied. For iron and steel plants requiring 3~4%, the oxygen enrichment before the BF blower can fully meet the demands; but 8~9% will be limited by the BF blower, thus it’s achieved by making the oxygen enrichment rate 4~5% before the blower and 4~5% after the blower respectively.
• The utilization coefficient of a 1462m3 blast furnace in Raigarh achieves 3.167.(Oxygen Capacity: 6000*90%+(6000*90%+7000) Nm3/h or 4630TPD; Blower Capacity: 1600m3/min; Oxygen Enrichment Rate: 8.5~9%)
• The utilization coefficient of a 4554m3 blast furnace in Angul is 2.306.(Oxygen Capacity:6000*90%*4Nm3/h or 10500TPD; Blower Capacity: 6400m3/min; Oxygen Enrichment Rate: 4.4%)
• The utilization coefficient of a 3200m3 blast furnace in China is 2.956.(Oxygen Capacity:6250*80%*4Nm3/h or 9460TPD; Blower Capacity: 6175m3/min; Oxygen Enrichment Rate: 6.3%)
Today more and more Indian iron & steel mills tend to adopt BF oxygen enrichment technology to reduce energy consumption and lift profit margins. PKU Pioneer’s VPSA oxygen production process has been applied in industrial areas for over 20 years. Through continuous technical optimization and product iteration, the ultra-large-capacity application of VPSA oxygen generation technology in the iron & steel industry has been realized- the total oxygen capacity of VPSA oxygen system in a single iron & steel mill has reached 70,000Nm3/h (pure oxygen). PKU Pioneer’s VPSA oxygen generation technology helps Indian iron & steel mills achieve the process optimization and performance improvement, which helps them gain substantial economic benefits and makes VPSA oxygen plant the preferred choice of oxygen production equipment for blast furnaces.
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