By using the best current practices and technology, the steel industry can decrease its energy appetite approximately 30 percent. That conclusion was reached in a recent technical paper by Dante Cosma and F. John McMulkin of Dominion Foundries & Steel Ltd., of Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Cosma is research manager for technical development at Dominion, while Mr. McMulkin is vice-president of research.
The authors stress the need to improve efficiency in operations that already exist, rather than expect new technology to provide energy-saving answers.
"Immediate solutions to the energy problem in the steel industry cannot be expected by the invention of new processes, significantly different from existing ones," the authors note. "The present blast furnace technology has taken 500 years to develop; the basic oxygen furnace steelmaking process, 100 years to reach its present state. It is inconceivable that these processes can be replaced by new processes, qualitatively different, in the next 10 years."