Thanks to a multi-year plan based on continuous and step improvements, Bremen has continued to significantly reduce its dust emissions, improving its relationships and reputation among its neighbours and local authorities, and offering far-improved working conditions on site. These efforts will continue in the future.
Our Bremen site is an integrated steelmaking plant surrounded by a number of private houses as well as a leisure harbour, and consequently the site is regularly in contact with its neighbours.
In 2009, despite ongoing environmental efforts leading to steady improvements, it was clear that the problem of visible dust emissions from the steel mill had not been completely resolved. As a result, local acceptance of the site among stakeholders was diminishing. And yet, according to the data, the emissions from the site were clearly within regulatory limits. All the analysis indicated there was no impact on the health of the local community. Nevertheless, the situation prompted a call to action by Bremen employees, both to improve the level of dust emissions even further, and to communicate and interact more meaningfully with the local community.
The first major investment amounted to over $21 million for the basic oxygen furnaces. The project involved renewing the secondary de-dusting facility as a main part of an upgrade to the waste gas collection system. It was completed in 2011, and in the following year, 2012, dust emissions were cut by 250 tonnes ‒ 20% of the total dust emissions from Bremen. Needless to say, working conditions in the plant improved, and our neighbours gave us positive feedback.
With the assistance of an institute in Dusseldorf, this project included a new design of exhaust hood which reduced the energy needed to de-dust. As a result, the site has a very effective dust-capturing system based on a highly energy efficient design.
At the nearby coke plant, located in Bottrop, ongoing environmental initiatives before its integration into Bremen in 2011 were pursued: in 2012, work to optimise the de-dusting systems for the four coke oven machines was completed. All machines are now equipped with bigger and more efficient waste gas hoods for a complete de-dusting of the coke oven doors.
In 2014, we invested $3.6 million in the de-dusting facility to introduce a new filter system and new installations for collecting the dust in the casthouse, and these are now working effectively. The results have shown improvements in the reduction of diffuse dust emissions. 2014 saw many small and medium-term improvements relating to noise and dust emissions which have been put in place as part of the continuous improvement process at the site.
The environmental efforts for the coke plant are continuing: the door-sealing and door-cleaning equipment for the 146 ovens will be completely renewed to reduce diffuse emissions. The next steps at Bremen plants will be projects to de-dust the burden hopper, which handles raw materials for processing, and to investigate dust emissions when materials are moved within the sinter plant. And last but not least, we will continue to focus on noise emissions, given its importance to our neighbouring communities.