PSI Blog

Efficient Heat Scheduling Combined with Energy Management in a Hybrid Steel Plant

26 Jun 2023 - Energy, Sustainability, Technology

PSI Metals team at METEC 2023 © PSI Metals

If you google METEC, the top search result says that it is the world’s leading event for metallurgical technology. Held every four years, this year’s METEC, which is the 11th International Metallurgical Trade Fair, saw about 18,000 experts and key decision makers visiting the event with over 618 different exhibition stands covering 22,321 square meters. With exhibitors and visitors from various sectors in the industry, the recurring topics of discussion were green steel and artificial intelligence.

PSI Metals returned to METEC with the message Production Management Solutions Today for Generations to Come. Their goal was to display some of its products and to show their mission to supply metals producers with the most innovative and sustainable Production Management System solutions for their Manufacturing Execution Systems,  Supply Chain Management, Advanced Planning Scheduling all in one Service Platform.

PSI Metals at METEC 2023 in Düsseldorf

This year and in line with the industry challenges, the PSI Metals METEC booth featured an energy floor, including the PSI App Store and the PSI Metals 2030 Strategy, touching on innovation and proactive measures towards decarbonizing metals production.

Central Role of Energy in Decarbonizing Steel Production – The Energy Floor Showcase

PSI Metals new Energy Floor Showcase
PSI Metals Energy Floor  © PSI Metals

Metals production is an energy intensive process and one of the largest emitters of industrial CO2. With current environmental concerns and the demand for steel with reduced carbon footprint, metals producers have to drastically cut back on their emissions in order to meet the Paris Agreement and the European Union 2030 net zero targets. 

The transformation of the metals industry is steadily increasing in pace, and there is a veritable race among companies to publish new process technologies to accelerate decarbonization. But what all these processes have in common is the use of regenerative electrical energy.

What does this mean for metals producers and how does PSI Metals support them towards efficient energy demand forecasting, consumption and energy management?

A hybrid steel plant powered by renewable energy was the core of the showcase at the PSI Metals booth. The energy floor showcase was designed to generate kinetic energy by jumping on energy floors to make the turbines of an off-shore windfarm rotate. The off-shore windfarm symbolizes one of the major sources of renewable energy. The energy profile generated in about 15 seconds was transformed into a wind-energy prognosis for the next couple of hours and transmitted to PSImetals Online Heat Scheduler (OHS). 

The PSImetals Online Heat Scheduler showed a hybrid steel plant, which combines both basic oxygen furnaces and an electric arc furnaces all in one plant. The windfarm then powers the electric arc furnace of the hybrid steel plant.

Heinz-Josef Ponten, Product Manager for Energy and Liquid at PSI Metals says,

”With our energy floor showcase, we show our readiness to support our customers in managing not only the increased complexity of hybrid steel plants but also to manage at the same time the complexity of volatility and availability of renewable energies as one of the main future resources. The future is electric and the successful modern steel plant should efficiently combine scheduling with forecasting of electric energy demands and availability of alternative renewable energy  to produce steel with reduced CO2 footprint.”

Integrating the Windfarm in a Virtual Hybrid Steel Plant Simulation

The energy floor showcase was a vision born out of the passion to support customers in their decarbonization targets and scheduling production in new technologies like a hybrid steel plant. The shift towards hybrid steel plant is a significant step towards decarbonizing steel production. However, managing a hybrid steel plant is complex and requires efficient planning and scheduling in order to harness its full potentials.

“We saw the energy floor showcase project as similar to a customer project. We had the idea that we wanted not only to schedule a hybrid steel plant with our new Qualicision-based Online Heat Scheduler but also to show our customers that we are ready to support at the same time the management of renewable energy. To symbolize that, we integrated a wind farm video animation into our Metals Virtual Factory and combined it with the PSImetals OHS and the PSI Qualicision Smart Day Trader on PSImetals Service Platform. The outcome was the live steel plant simulator running in the background, which simulates and schedules the production, forecasts energy demands and availability and hands energy demand profiles over to the energy trading system. This simulation helps us also to test that things run smoothly for installation at a customer plant,”

says Sebastian Grob, Software Developer at PSI Metals.

Steelmakers are exploring alternative options to steel production that will result in reduced carbon emission. Thus, a hybrid steel plant offers the option to gradual and smooth transition to green steel. It combines traditional Blast Furnace (BF) and Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) with DRI, Smelters and Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) technology to produce steel.

The main objective of a hybrid steel plant is to drastically reduce CO2 emission, optimize efficiency and energy usage and help steelmakers in their transition to green steelmaking.

Producing steel with this new technology requires a huge amount of renewable electricity, which needs to be considered as a volatile resource in terms of availability and price.

To fully harness the benefits of a hybrid steel plant, 3 approaches need to be applied in the production management:

  1. Use software to schedule heat production at the melt shop, effectively forecast both energy and material resource usage
  2. Reducing the amount of energy consumption, and
  3. Make balanced decisions based on production targets and green KPIs.

    The PSImetals Online Heat Scheduler

    This is where the PSImetals OHS becomes highly beneficial for steel producers.  It optimizes the heat schedules in the melt shop based on casting sequences received from the planning systems.

    OHS creates a detailed work schedule for all planned heats, which consists of all required treatment and transport steps, their durations, and the assignment of required production facilities, and operating equipment where these treatments can be performed.

      PSImetals Online Heat Scheduler application screenshot
      PSImetals Online Heat Scheduler © PSI Metals

      OHS automatically reacts to all changes and delays during production to always ensure the delivery of the heats of a sequence to the caster at the required time. It also calculates demand forecasts for resources like Hot Metal, DRI or Electrical Energy and aligns the schedules to availability of the resources.

      For instance, production can be scheduled and aligned based on availability or price of green electricity. Forecasting the demands of hot metal, scrap, DRI and energy combined with its availability and the transport logistics in a hybrid steel plant will become important KPIs for scheduling and facilities dispatching.

      This green KPI approach to scheduling management in steel plant optimization will save production and material costs and support the future decarbonization goals of steel production.

      Energy and Resource Demand Forecast

      In order to predict successfully the energy demand of a steel plant, the main energy consumption processes have to be identified. Forecasting is easy for processes with constant energy consumption.

      However, for those with varying energy consumption, the energy required depends on the products and process parameters of the production lines. The Production Execution System (PES) is also able to individually record these consumptions and link it to products, processes and production orders. Combining this data allows for obtaining the specific energy needed, per production step and line and to calculate specific energy demand forecasts for a certain time horizon based on the production schedule.

      The CO2 reduction goals to be achieved with green DRI technologies in hybrid steel plants are mainly based on usage of renewable energy. This makes it even more interesting to combine scheduling and energy demand forecasting to align the production to availability and price and at the same time to provide the forecasts to Energy Management Systems or Energy supplier.

      Every change in production and resulting schedule is kept up to date in the energy forecast and allows to flexibly adapt energy needs and its supply. Industrial consumers usually purchase electrical energy based on a mix of long- and medium-term contracts, considering their own energy generated by process gases. Day ahead and intraday energy trading plays a minor role.

      “The journey to decarbonize steel production is one that is beneficial to the present and future generations and requires huge capital investments. One of such investments is the German government’s planned spending of €5 billion on climate-friendly restructuring of Germany’s steel industry between 2022 and 2024.

      In addition, PSI Metals as a leading supplier of Production Management System solution, is providing its platform and smart software to help the industry achieve those ambitious targets. Our vision is to ensure that the world will keep running with metals products in a sustainable way. This is what we owe to the generations to come.

      With the jumping pad and gamification at METEC, we jumped to generate energy to power a hybrid steel plant. By doing that, we wanted to attract attention and showcase our readiness to continue on this journey,” says Thomas Quinet Managing Director at PSI Metals.

      With the transformation of the steel industry to green DRI, the processes will need more electricity while producing less gases to drive own power plants. This will lead to a change of the mix and short-term purchase to better react on volatility and availability of renewable energy, which will play a bigger role for steel producers.

      Finally, the combination of optimized production scheduling, energy forecasting and automated energy trading in one system platform would open steel producers a new way to flexibly adapt production to renewable energy availability and price.

      Steel Plant's Energy Consumption - Tech Talk

      What is your vision for efficient energy management in a hybrid steel plant in 2023?

      Content marketing Manager, PSI Metals

      Veronica Ugwu

      Content Marketing Manager, PSI Metals GmbH

      Veronica is responsible for creating and executing overall contents to meet strategic plans, communications and PR goals at PSI Metals. She proactively strives to tell the story behind the people and the solutions revolutionizing the metals industry. She is fascinated at the power of contents and how it can be used to deliver insights and tell story about anything. In her free time, Veronica enjoys jogging in the nature.

      Follow us on