Energy efficiency and recycling in steel processing
Energy efficiency is the result of many smaller and larger measures. Therefore, energy efficiency measures are continuously developed and implemented as part of a continuous improvement process (CIP). The energy requirement in relation to the production volume is to be continuously reduced in this way. As a rule, these measures lead not only to a reduction in costs, but also to a reduction in CO2 emissions.
Raw materials such as ore, steel and zinc are scarce resources that are extracted at great expense. It is therefore all the more important to use these resources sparingly and to return them to the material cycle. It helps that steel is 100% recyclable. But we also keep an eye on all process-relevant raw materials, consumables and supplies. Our goal is to ensure that all materials that are not delivered to our customers as products are completely recycled. Today, this recycling rate is already over 99 % at the two large galvanizing sites. The remaining waste is systematically examined and should become recyclable as quickly as possible.
CO2-neutral production 2025
Wuppermann produces about one million tonnes of strip galvanized steel a year using the so-called "heat-to-coat" process. The Fraunhofer Institute has already proven in 2020 that this process saves more than 30 percent of CO2 compared to conventional galvanizing processes based on fossil fuels. The usual cold strip galvanizing processes require the steel strip to be annealed to a temperature of 750° C in a large annealing furnace fired with natural gas or metallurgical gas. Its combustion product is CO2, which is released into the atmosphere. The strip then has to be cooled down to the galvanizing temperature. Wuppermann's heat-to-coat process uses a small, inductively - i.e. electrically - heated strip heating furnace that heats the steel strip to the galvanizing temperature of 460 - 480° C in seconds. With electricity as the main energy source, the electricity mix is the main lever for CO2-neutral production. Consequently, for our ambitious goal, we are gradually changing our electricity mix to purchase from renewable energy sources. The first measures have already been implemented. For example, since the beginning of 2021, the company has been sourcing exclusively green electricity at its production sites in Austria. The Dutch site in Moerdijk will switch completely to electricity from wind power in 2022. The Małomice site in Poland will also obtain CO2-free electricity from nuclear power from the beginning of the new year. This will significantly increase the CO2 advantage over European competitors. At the same time, the company is investing in its own power generation. Photovoltaic plants with a total capacity of three megawatts are being built at three Wuppermann sites. The Hungarian site has implemented the construction in 2021.
CO2 neutral group
As the majority of all emissions are directly linked to production processes, this is the clear priority of our climate protection activities. In addition, Wuppermann's business activities generate further emissions that we will systematically record and consistently reduce by 2030, so that the entire Wuppermann Group will be CO2 neutral by the end of this decade.