Smart energy systems position Ovako among its industry’s climate leaders

16th January 2023
References Industries Metals, Minerals & Mining

Through a partnership with Adven (former Värmevärden), residual heat from Ovako’s steel mills in Hofors and Hällefors can be used to heat homes, apartment buildings and commercial properties. The energy systems utilize residual heat from steel production that was previously wasted. In addition to more efficient energy systems, collaboration has also entailed an environmental initiative in which Ovako has attained some of the lowest carbon footprints in its industry.

Ovako and Adven have had an energy collaboration since 1983 (with former SKF). Ovako is operating in the steel industry and is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of consumer structural steel. In Hofors, Ovako produces high-quality steel from scrap, and in Hällefors, steel products for the automotive, mining and energy sectors.

During the melting process in the steel mills, exhaust gases of several hundred degrees are created, which are cooled before being filtered and released into the open air. A large portion of the heat previously wasted is now utilized to produce district heating. The residual heat is enough to cover about 30 percent of the district heating needs in the whole town of Hofors.

– When we build energy systems like this, we maximize energy use. This both saves money and reduces environmental impact. By recycling residual heat, we heat not only Ovako’s own facilities, but also many other buildings in the town. This without us having to burn any fossil fuels, explains Jonas Dyrke, business developer at Adven.

Among other things, the company has converted its heat treatment furnaces from LPG to electricity, and the next big step is to convert the to hydrogen, something that will further lower the company’s carbon footprint.

– We are actively working to streamline our facilities and to reduce our energy consumption, says Fredrik Edin, service manager at Ovako in Hällefors. Since 2015, we have reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 55 percent and now are among the industry leaders when it comes to low carbon footprint.

The two companies work closely together. When Ovako plans changes to industrial processes related to energy matters, Ovako and representatives from Adven meet to discuss possible impact on their energy collaboration. These meetings take place at an early stage in order to discuss alternative solutions so that an optimal solution for energy and the environment can be found.

Inside the steel mill in Hofors, photo taken by Mikael Ullen.