ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has received ISO 50001 certification for energy efficiency. The internationally recognized standard for energy management systems (EMS). awarded by TÜV Nord, is official confirmation of the importance that Germany’s biggest steel producer attaches to energy efficiency.

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe is thus taking a pioneering role. “We are the first European steel company with an energy management system certified to this standard,” says the company’s CEO Edwin Eichler. The successful audit, taking in all production sites (Duisburg, Bochum, Dortmund, Eichen, Ferndorf and Finnentrop), was completed in just six months.

With its certified EMS, the Company is constructively supporting European efforts to improve energy efficiency. But the company is also critical of some areas of forthcoming legislation: For example, there are plans to set absolute energy saving targets across the board, without taking appropriate account of previous energy savings. This will particularly impact companies like TKS, who have already undertaken major efforts in the past and now operate with a high level of energy efficiency. Legislators need to apply a sense of proportion in implementing the European requirements so as not to jeopardize Germany as an industrial location.

Following the successful milestone of EMS certification, the company’s efficiency drive will of course continue: “The audit confirmed the effectiveness of our energy management system, which we will now use to continuously improve our energy efficiency even further,” says Christian Weinrich, head of the Energy Optimization/Studies (EOS) team at TKS Europe, which has overall responsibility for the EMS. Existing energy efficiency programmes will be continued and new projects launched. Next fiscal year, for example, there are plans to recover waste heat from walking beam furnace No6 at hot rolling mill No2 in Duisburg. With an additional 25000MWh/y – equivalent to the heating requirements of around 1700 homes – ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe will altogether provide heat for almost 20000 households, making it the biggest industrial contributor to district heating networks in the Ruhr area. The company also uses waste heat internally, both in production processes and to heat its own buildings.

In addition, state-of-the-art technologies are helping save energy and conserve resources. For example, the use of regenerative burners in the reheat furnaces significantly reduces gas consumption. In this process, heat energy contained in high-temperature waste gas is fed back to the burner process, allowing further reductions in energy consumption and therefore CO2 emissions.

TKS is currently implementing a new software system throughout the company to further increase the transparency of energy flows. It enables the plants to monitor and evaluate their consumption around the clock and thus identify further potential for savings.

The EMS is also part of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe’s efforts to maximise cost efficiency. “Every kilowatt hour we save cuts costs and helps us remain competitive,” emphasizes Weinrich. As Germany’s biggest steel producer, a sustainable approach to energy use goes without saying.