Coke Production and the Impact of Environmental Legislation
AUTHOR: David Reeve
DATE: August 2000
This report reviews the impact of environmental legislation on the manufacture of coke used in the ironmaking blast furnace. Globally, a slight oversupply of coke is predicted for the immediate future but regional shortages will continue. Factors such as improved blast furnace efficiency and increased use of pulverised coal injection have led to a decline in specific coke consumption but, in some regions, coke oven capacity reductions resulting from unwillingness to bear the costs of battery refurbishing and pollution control equipment coupled with replacement costs for aging batteries have still led to supply shortages.
These shortages are to some extent being filled by importing coke, especially from China. However, on a cautionary note, it is reported that up to 2000 beehive oven plants in China may be shut down in the near future because of non-compliance with national environmental standards. Unless replacement conventional batteries are built quickly, the effect of these projected closures could be severe on overseas consumers of Chinese coke.
The nature and sources of emissions from coke ovens are now well-documented and their effects on health understood. Environmental legislation takes different forms in different countries. However, there is a feeling of optimism that coke can still be manufactured in a manner that satisfies environmental requirements and provides an economic advantage. Compliance with environmental rules can be achieved with by-product ovens and alternative less-polluting cokemaking processes are being developed. The lifetime of old batteries is being extended and some new ones planned.