Baosteel strives towards achieving dual carbon goals

(People's Daily Online) 13:45, July 24, 2023

A workshop in the Baosteel Co., Ltd. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

China Baowu Steel Group Co., Ltd. (Baowu Group) is a large state-owned steel company headquartered in Shanghai, China. In recent years, Baowu Group has continuously promoted the structural upgrading of China’s steel industry and improved its concentration through mergers and acquisitions. It has now become a competitive steel company with a high level of modernization worldwide, maintaining a leading position in the world steel industry. It has ranked first in the world in terms of production since 2020.

At the end of June, a research team composed of foreign experts, international students and media reporters visited Baosteel Co., Ltd. of Baowu Group, and witnessed the harmonious coexistence between green steel mills and Shanghai city amid the rhythmic rolling sound of steel being produced.

A view of the factory area of Baosteel. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

While achieving world-leading steel production, Baosteel also emphasizes green low-carbon development.

Baosteel pursues the harmonious development between the steel industry and society as well as the environment, adheres to the principle of green development, explores and masters the key and core technologies of green and low-carbon metallurgy, continues to build the leading advantage of steel in the future, and develops a green path that will ensure economic growth while maintaining low carbon and emission reductions.

Staff of Baosteel operation center brief the research team. (Photo by Wang Pu)

In the operation center of Baosteel, a huge screen displays various information such as Baosteel’s production, equipment, energy, transportation, and safety management, realizing borderless cooperation and efficient collaboration in production, and giving full play to the “intelligent brain” as a joint command unit.

In the operation center, head of relevant departments said that the screen shows Baosteel’s participation in “dual carbon” actions. Baosteel invested more than 4 billion yuan in building the largest closed unmanned stockyard in China, completely solving the issue of dust emission. The company independently developed the first domestic integrated flue gas treatment technology, which achieved the best results recognized by the industry and has a world-leading position. The world’s first backup system for coke oven flue gas purification is constantly lowering emissions.

Baosteel also took the lead in completing the first pure coking wastewater project both at home and abroad with independent IP rights, and explored the joint implementation plan for “zero discharge” of wastewater from the entire process of steel production. Baosteel Zhanjiang Base has successfully achieved “zero discharge” of wastewater.

Sika deer raised in Baosteel Zoo. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

There is also a zoo in the factory that is home to 65 national first-class protected wild animal sika deer, 76 blue peacocks and a variety of birds. These environmentally sensitive animals are good indicators of environmental quality. They have thrived here for more than 30 years, fully proving the high ecological quality of the factory.

Peacocks in Baosteel Zoo. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

Digitalization and intelligence empower “dual carbon” action

In recent years, Baosteel has successively launched the hot rolling “1+N” smart production line, cold rolling “dark factory”, smart warehouse and other smart manufacturing demonstration application scenarios to accelerate the “dual carbon” drive.

In the hot rolling “1+N” smart production line, which is based on new technologies such as the Internet of Things, the Internet, cloud computing, big data, an application platform that is automated, visualized and information-oriented helps realize unmanned driving and intelligent management of the slab warehouse.

The research team visits the hot rolling plant of Baosteel. (Photo/Wang Pu)

“The hot rolling production line is quite amazing. Unlike the traditional factories, Baosteel’s hot rolling production line is basically human-free, and the whole production line is very advanced. I am very much looking forward to seeing more low-carbon application in industries,” said Ha Jung Mi, a South Korean reporter of People’s Daily Online.

Baosteel hot rolling “1+N” production line. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

Zhu Yan, head of the planning and science and technology department of Baosteel, said: “Baosteel attaches great importance to green and low-carbon development, and has specially formulated a green and low-carbon scheme in the new round of planning, including extreme energy efficiency, digitalization, intellectualization and the development of new metallurgical processes.”

The research team visits the cold rolling “dark factory” of Baosteel. (Photo/Wang Pu)

The “dark workshop” , or intelligent unmanned factory, is another highlight of the tour. As there are no manual operations, the lights in the workshop can be left off 24 hours a day. Baoshan Base of Baosteel was selected as the global “Lighthouse Factory” by the World Economic Forum in 2020, and won first place in the domestic steel industry. The “Lighthouse factory” represents the highest level of intelligent manufacturing in the world and is known as the “Oscar of intelligent manufacturing”.

The “dark factory” in Baosteel. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

According to the person in charge of the workshop, the production line here is smart enough to run automatically without turning on any lights and is literally a ‘dark factory’. The vehicles are usually operated by human workers. But with smart operations, unmanned vehicles know how to find the required steel coils from the reservoir according to the production plan and then transport them to the specified position.

From 2017 to 2019, Baosteel implemented the overall intelligent transformation to this cold rolling workshop and two hot dip galvanizing units, thereby achieving an intelligent upgrade.

According to reports, the transformation of this digital factory has brought a 30 percent decrease of comprehensive pollutants per ton of steel, a 30 percent increase in production efficiency, 20 percent increase in production capacity, 15 percent decrease in energy consumption per ton of steel, and a 10 percent decrease in processing costs.

The “dark factory” in Baosteel. (Photo courtesy of Baosteel Co., Ltd.)

“Baosteel’s ‘dark factory’ stunned me. I have never seen a factory operating like this before. Green and low-carbon methods let China create a lot of advanced technologies. In Shanghai and Baosteel Group, we really witnessed the contributions made by the Chinese steel industry to the low-carbon metallurgical field,” said Zhang Yang, an international student at the Beijing Foreign Studies University from Pakistan.

Presently, Baosteel has formed sound solid waste processing, storage, disposal and utilization facilities and technical capabilities, and their solid waste disposal and utilization indicators are at an advanced level in the industry. It now owns the management system and technical capabilities to assist Shanghai in building a “waste free city”.

On June 5, Baosteel released the implementation plan for building “a steel mill in a green and waste free city”. Taking “ultra-low exhaust gas discharge, zero waste water discharge, and solid waste within the factory” as the starting point, Baosteel persisted on reducing and making good use of solid waste from the source, maximizing the potential of metallurgical high-temperature furnaces for collaborative utilization and disposal of social solid waste to achieve a deep integration of steel production and urban ecology.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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