Air pollution control is one of the focal points of environmental protection at voestalpine. Measures such as minimizing gas emissions, filtering out dust and effectively damping plant noise are being implemented at production plants worldwide.
The first dedusting system was put into operation 60 years ago at the LD steel plant in Linz—an early response to visible emissions and citizen protests. Since then, there has been a lot of progress at voestalpine when it comes to climate protection and environmental protection, both in thought and in action. Today, the Group is still setting environmental standards worldwide within its industry.
Air pollution control is an essential part of corporate environmental protection. voestalpine continuously invests in modern filter systems and in modernizing and maintaining systems at the locations.
Linz as a pioneering location
Numerous measures and best-practice examples in the area of air pollution control can of course be found at the Group’s largest production site, the Steel Division in Linz.
The voestalpine Stahl GmbH coking plant is focusing, for example, on extending the service life of coke batteries. Thanks to the team’s heightened environmental awareness and good maintenance, Linz batteries run continuously for up to 50 years—in contrast to the usual three decades in the industry. In addition, modern coke transfer machines ensure emission-free filling of the coke into the coke cars.
"The coking plant is one of the most relevant plants in terms of environmental protection. The authorities have repeatedly confirmed that we comply with all requirements and limits, and in some cases even fall below them. We are as proud of this as of the environmental protection achievements on the sinter belt."
The sintering plants require special attention when it comes to dust generation. This is where the raw material supply to the blast furnaces is ensured with a “baking mixture” of iron ore fines, recycled process materials and other feedstocks. voestalpine put a pioneering technology into operation a good 10 years ago with the MEROS system for reducing emissions.
The sintering plant process manager, Bernhard Putz, points out: “When it comes to emission values, we can report that there are no complaints—neither with respect to the conveying routes, transport or processing.”
Clean air in Donawitz
voestalpine Stahl Donawitz GmbH is also focusing on long-term measures. Over the past 20 years, the voestalpine company has been able to reduce its dust emissions by approx. 80%—even as production figures increase. Measures include investment in exhaust air purification in the steel mill, installing a second dedusting system for the sintering plant and the new casting hall dedusting system for the blast furnaces. Sprayer systems have also been in use in Donawitz since 2014. They bind dust emissions during the transport of raw materials, at unloading points and in open storage, helping to ensure clean air at this Metal Engineering Division site.
Focus on “dedusting” at the High Performance Metals Division
Even the most modern steel mills cannot produce without side effects such as heat emission, noise and fine dust emissions. In order to minimize their impact on employees, residents and the environment, the voestalpine High Performance Metals Division is investing approximately EUR 100 million between 2010 and 2020.
High Performance Metals Division investments in the last years have provided cleaner air at the four special steel locations:
- Hagfors (Uddeholms AB): increasing the hourly extraction capacity from 220,000 Nm³ to 1,000,000 Nm³ helped reduce the annual dust level from 15 tons to less than 400 kg.
- At Buderus Edelstahl in Wetzlar, increasing the extraction capacity by a factor of five to approx. 2.4 million Nm³/h was an important basis for minimizing dust emissions by 20%.
- The steel mill in Sumaré (Villares Metals) expanded its secondary dedusting capacity by 280,000 Nm³/h.
- A dedusting volume of 3.8 million Nm³/h is planned for the new special steel plant in Kapfenberg.
Our path to a green future
We are upping the pace of emissions reduction. greentec steel from voestalpine is Austria’s largest climate protection program. Starting in 2027, this program will reduce Austria’s annual CO2 emissions by almost 5%. 2024 marks the start of the partial shift from the blast furnace to the electric arc furnace (EAF) route—once unresolved funding issues in Austria are clarified.