As a family business, Wuppermann has committed itself to sustainability and the considerate use of resources for future generations. Both are an important part of Wuppermann's identity. For years we have been committed to saving energy and resources in our production. Because ecological and economic interests go hand in hand here: saving energy also means saving costs.
What contribution does Wuppermann make to the sustainability of the steel industry?
The topic of sustainability is also gaining more and more importance in the steel industry. As a group of companies with a high energy input in production, it is extremely important to take responsibility for the environment. However, it is not only production, but also transport and, above all, the materials and raw materials we use that generate CO2 emissions. Therefore, in dialogue with our suppliers, we try to procure primary materials and raw materials with low CO2 emissions wherever possible and support the trend towards further reduction.
We have the most direct influence on our own production and on transports organised by us. Therefore, the focal points of our activities are as follows:
- Transparency about the environmental impact of our production
- Reduction of energy consumption in production, especially in pickling and galvanizing
- Optimisation of the energy mix of the energy sources used
- Planning and control of transports, for reduction and optimal utilization of the means of transport
- Expansion of the use of means of transport with a better CO2 balance, e.g. rail transport
According to Deutsche Bahn, Wuppermann Staal Nederland B.V. (WSN) 2019 saved 2,589 tons of CO2 in regular coil shipments to one customer alone by using rail instead of trucks. In total, 2019 36 % of inbound and outbound freight was shipped by rail. The aim is to further increase this share.
In the 2019 financial year, Wuppermann Austria GmbH (WA) in Judenburg achieved some successful energy savings with the E-LEEN project. WA was certified with the "Energy Audit plus" in accordance with the Federal Efficiency Act (EEffG) of the Republic of Austria § 18. The E-LEEN project comprised a learning energy efficiency network of several companies in cooperation with the Austrian government, which was supported by Energie Steiermark AG. The network's objectives included priority topics that had to be implemented. The WA was able to achieve the greatest savings with the following measures: Renewal of the cooling air fans, induction heating of the strip galvanizing plant and hot water production by means of a heat pump. Many smaller savings could be achieved by replacing the lighting in the operating buildings and, in total, made a significant contribution. In 2019, total energy savings of 7,119 kilowatt hours (kWh) were achieved. This equals a CO2 saving of 1,780 kilograms (kg) for the year and a cumulative cost saving of around 200,000 euros. The successful project will be further expanded.
Heat-to-coat process from Wuppermann saves 31 % CO2
In a study with the Fraunhofer UMSICHT institute, the following was found: The galvanizing processes including after-treatment cause 31 % lower CO2 emissions at the Moerdijk (NL) site with 0.126 kg CO2 equivalents per kg (CO2 eq./kg) and at the Judenburg (AT) site with 0.105 kg CO2 eq./kg by 43 % lower CO2 emissions than the process customary on the market with 0.183 kg CO2 eq./kg. You can find more about the study here.
Reduction of resource consumption through recycling
Steel is one of the most recycled materials. By-products from steel production are also returned to the material cycle to a large extent. At WSN, scrap, used acid and zinc slag as well as wood and paper are recycled. For example, the slag is reused in the cement industry or in road construction. The WSN thus has a non-recyclable portion in the material balance of only 0.03 %. Wuppermann will continue to work on the sustainable improvement of processes with the aim of saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions and resource consumption.