South Korean steelmaker Dongkuk Steel Mill [001230:KS] has begun researching ways to reduce carbon emissions by utilizing hyper-electric furnace processes, with a goal of completing the research by 2028, as reported by the Korea Economic Daily on February 24. The firm aims to enhance the power efficiency of electric arc furnace (EAF) by preheating iron scraps and optimizing the filling method, and perfect the hyper electric furnace technology by further improving energy efficiency. The optimized process could increase the operation speed of EAF, leading to a reduction in power consumption and carbon emissions.
Dongkuk Steel Mill is the second largest EAF steel producer in South Korea, behind Hyundai Steel [004020:KS]. Dongkuk also owns Korea’s only eco-friendly electric furnace, Eco-Arc. The Eco-Arc EAF in its Incheon plant has the highest power efficiency by domestic standards and consumes 30% less power than common electric furnaces, due to the process of preheating and continuous filling of iron scraps. This represents another step forward by the carbon-intensive steel industry in fulfilling its environmental responsibility, building on the efforts to switch from blast furnace to EAF, which reduce carbon emissions by around 75%. In December 2021, South Korea’s largest steelmaker POSCO [005490:KS] also announced a plan to construct two mini mills that feature low carbon emissions and high utilization rate by 2027. These mills use EAF to create high-quality steel sheets from hot briquetted iron (HBI), which produces lower residual element content than when using scraps as raw materials.