Glass Industry News


, Saint Gobain

30% less natural gas consumed by the blast furnace in one year: that’s the spectacular outcome of several projects implemented within the PAM pipe plant, in Pont-à-Mousson (France), to reduce energy consumption. 

The PAM plant in Pont-à-Mousson (France) transforms iron ore into liquid cast iron. But it takes a lot of natural gas to reach the 1,450 °C required for melting. Hence the traceability of its main energy uses.

Several energy savings projects have been put in place in the plant to reduce the blast furnace’s gas consumption. And it works! In one year, PAM has reduced its natural gas consumption by 30%. In a context of energy price inflation, these reductions are particularly significant, with almost 2,000 MWh and €1.4M saved in natural gas between January 2022 and January 2023. Savings that should continue in the coming months, with new projects in the pipeline. 

Optimizing the reuse of waste heat 

Several projects have been conducted to optimize the use of gas and use what is known as waste heat, i.e. the heat generated by a process whose primary objective is the production of energy, as is the case with the process of melting ore into cast iron.

One of these projects concerns the Cowper stoves, strategic equipment capable of recovering the heat created by gases and reinjecting it into the blast furnace. Since October 2022, the PAM plant has been reconfigured to operate with three Cowper stoves. This transformation has helped to maximize use of the gas generated by the blast furnace to operate the burners and thus considerably reduce the consumption of natural gas.

Other projects in the pipeline... 

The PAM teams have also done away with non-critical equipment (mixer burners) and optimized the blast furnace’s consumption. As well as these significant savings, other projects are being studied concerning the capture of “lost” energy and to accelerate energy savings.

One of them involves reusing the gas from the heat treatment furnace to heat the locker rooms and showers at the Pont-à-Mousson plant. Another project hopes to connect the “lost” gas to a system that could heat the plant’s employees, those at the headquarters and the research center. An initiative for energy savings that could heat over 500 people!

, © Saint Gobain

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