Digital TWINs for Green HYdrogen transition in steel industry
TWINGHY will demonstrate an optimised heat transfer process based on hybrid burners in reheating furnaces, progressively decarbonising the reheating process through the increase of H2 in combination with O2 and by monitoring and controlling it through a digital twin. Two types of hybrid natural gas – hydrogen burners will be developed: one based on air and with the other one on oxy-combustion. They will be integrated into an operational industrial-scale reheating furnace demonstrator. To support that transition to hydrogen, a digital twin methodology will be developed and applied to the demonstrator and to a replication site. In parallel, a physics-based model will be created and validated on both sites too. The performances of both digital approaches will be compared. From the successful implementation of these actions, TWINGHY will contribute to the synergetic green and digitals transitions of the steel industry. It will allow to bring significant CO2 emission reductions while also saving energy and maintaining low NOx emissions. The TWINGHY solution is designed to be adapted onto existing steel industry furnaces that still have a long lifespan ahead, avoiding the need to replace the whole furnace, therefore saving resources. Moreover, the predictions from the advanced digital tools will facilitate the smoothness of the transition, therefore allowing for it to be done without disturbing production.
The activities at the University of Oulu focus on studying differences of oxide formation amounts/rates and morphologies between current heating practices for select steels and proposed improvements incorporating hydrogen as a fuel and oxy-combustion. A reference oxide formation database for selected steels will be formed based on the current practice of natural gas burning with air. Using different burner practices with the aims of GHG reductions from the reheating process, a comparative dataset in relation to the oxide scale formation amounts will be formed and compared to the reference case. Based on the results, information on which steel types are most prone to see high changes to oxide formation during the switch to greener heating practices will be formed. The results will also allow to gauge whether the current descaling processes are adequate to remove oxide scale before rolling in the case of a furnace fuelled with hydrogen.