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  • Cleaning coke oven gas

Krakow's investments are exceeding the environmental expectations

The plant in Kraków was brought to life in 1954. Over decades it was modernized and today, it is a flagship plant of ArcelorMittal Poland.

Krakow's coke plant produces 625 000 tonnes of coke, which is used in the blast furnaces together with sinter to produce hot metal. The process of producing coke generates significant quantities of coke oven gas, rich in volatile matters. For this reason, in addition to the ovens dedicated to the coke production, the coke plant is equipped with treatment units that wash the gas before it can be reused in other areas of the plant. A good treatment allows reduction of SOx and NOx emissions (coming from sulphur and ammonia content of the coke oven gas) into the atmosphere.


 

In 2008 the Krakow plant decided to renew its coke oven gas cleaning installation, in order to comply with the latest environmental requisites, but also improve the working conditions of the employees, as well as the quality of the environment for the surrounding communities. Another objective was also to reduce the impact of the waste produced at the gas treatment plant (impure sulphur containing arsenic) and the use of dangerous chemicals for the treatment (sulphuric acid).

The investment, worth over EUR 25 m, was carried out in 2011. The whole project involved more than 300 external workers. Strict  security, as well as and health and safety measures were applied throughout the project as the works took place very close to the old installation, which at that time was still active. ArcelorMittal teams closely monitored subcontractors working there. Safety workshops, training on dangerous substances and safety measures were the daily mantra. The project was also nominated in a programme of  the National Labour Inspectorate titled  "Respect your life. Safe work at heights", which led to a number of additional trainings and security audits on site. As an outcome of these efforts, no accident occurred during the project.

The new installation was commissioned in 2012. It  ensures the absorption and desorption of H2S (Hydrogen sulphite) and NH3 (Ammonia) and the Catalytic decomposition of ammonia and sulphur based on Claus method. The output of the process is nitrogen and sulphur which is at 99.9% pure.  

After one year of operation, the results of the new installation exceed expectations.  Best Available Techniques (BAT) standards are fully met. While the designers anticipated H2S results below 0.5g /Nm3, the average is now between 0.3 and 0.4, and the results are even better with ammonia, with concentration below 0.013g /Nm3, 3 to 4 times better than the initial estimate. After the completion of the project, the Krakow site invited the neighbours of the steel plant to see the new investment. 

The next environmental step for Krakow coke production is the commissioning of a new waste water treatment unit worth EUR 6 m.