Compared to its predecessor, the new tube gas storage facility on the premises of Saarstahl AG in Neunkirchen in Saarland, Germany – which replaces the gasometer dismantled in June – saves the energy equivalent of roughly 600 households in the town per year, or 2,500,000 kWh.

Since the beginning of the year, the walking beam furnaces at Saarstahl's Neunkirchen plant have been fired with pure natural gas. The plant that has now been put into operation is a buffer storagefacility that will cover peak loads in the gas supply for the two walking beam furnaces. The facility, it is completely invisible to the eye as the pipes of the storage tank are located below the surface of the factory premises.

Saarstahl has invested more than EUR 8 million into converting the furnaces to natural gas operation and developing the new tube gas storage facility to replace the old gasometer. Over the past 10 years, the company has invested more than EUR 100 million in modernizing the Neunkirchen plant. With this latest step, the company is continuing to follow the path towards environmentally friendly and sustainable production at the site.

“With the new tubular storage tank, Saarstahl is demonstrating that, even in difficult times, we are taking responsibility for sustainable production and the future viability of the Neunkirchen location,” plant manager Thomas Nikolay said in appreciation of the new construction.

The new tube gas storage facility operates much more efficiently and cost-effectively than the previous disk-shaped gas storage tank and, because the fuel gas is stored in a compressed state, could be constructed much smaller.

The natural gas storage facility consists of 10 pipes placed side by side and up to four metres below ground with a total volume of approximately 1,000 cubic metres. The length of the storage tubes placed special demands on the logistics: heavy-duty transport vehicles delivered the 32.5-metre-long tubes to the plant site, and a 300-ton crane with a radius of almost 80 metres then lifted the tubes into the 69 x 25 metre excavation pit. Two tubes were then welded together to form 65-metre-long tubes.