Purdue University Northwest in partnership with steel maker ArcelorMittal and Argonne National Laboratory will launch a research project that could find a way to reduce energy use in steel production.
The project is funded under the U.S. Department of Energy’s High-Performance Computing for Manufacturing Program.
“The HPC4Mfg Program aims to help U.S. manufacturers become more productive and competitive, through advancement of energy-efficient and cleaner production technologies,” said Argonne Technical Representative May Wu. “With this research project, we hope to develop synergies by using expertise from all three organizations to advance science and engineering, while contributing to the growth of the steel manufacturing industry.”
PNW’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation will conduct computational modeling to simulate reheat furnace operation under a variety of conditions, to balance the many factors involved in consistently bringing steel slabs to target temperatures, maintaining desired metallurgical properties, and optimizing production schedules—while also minimizing fuel use. Using data and process insights provided by ArcelorMittal and other members of PNW’s Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium (SMSVC), students at CIVS will perform process modeling and simulation, and conduct studies on different factors influencing operation performance and output quality.
DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory will provide the high-performance computing facilities needed to yield comprehensive and detailed computational analyses, and further support the project with added expertise in computer science and energy analysis.
Chenn Zhou, CIVS and SMSVC director, who will serve as PNW’s lead investigator on the project, said reheat furnaces have an essential role in steel production, but their operation is both energy-intensive and complex.
“This collaborative research will use advanced simulation and computing technologies to investigate ways that steel manufacturers can improve slab quality, increase productivity, and reduce energy consumption,” she said.
David White, director of process research at ArcelorMittal’s East Chicago Research Center, is optimistic the project will yield positive results.
“We are excited to be able to combine the tremendous computing resources of Argonne National Laboratory with the process modeling expertise of Purdue Northwest on this project,” he said.” Reheat furnaces are common to all steelmakers, and their efficient operation directly transfers to lower energy costs and higher product quality for our industry.”