Perpetual recovery loop at Ovako
Ovako is a leading manufacturer of component steel. In Hofors, where the purest steel is produced, ingot casting is carried out in chilled moulds. By recasting the moulds, valuable alloying elements are safeguarded in a perpetual recovery loop.
Ovako’s steel production is scrap-based and takes place in Sweden and Finland, two countries with relatively good access to fossil-free electricity. Ovako’s steel thus has a low carbon footprint; about one-sixth compared to the world average for steel. This shows a life cycle analysis made by Swerea for Ovako.
“Our goal in the long term is to communicate the carbon footprint of Ovako’s steel in certified declarations so that our customers, who often have their own ambitious environmental goals, can take into consideration climate impact in the purchasing decision,” says Göran Nyström, marketing and technology manager at Ovako.
Despite the fact that Ovako’s production is largely based entirely on scrap, they sell high-quality steel which, in many cases enables energy and environmental savings for the end user. A key factor to the high quality is the ingot casting in moulds in Hofors. The moulds are subjected to a lot of wear and approximately 700, five-tonne moulds wear out annually.
Through a circular business model, the moulds can be reworked by melting and remoulding without any other material additives. Thereby the alloying elements in the moulds are fully reused in a perpetual recovery loop. However, given that the recasting of the moulds takes place in Germany, there is still room for further improvement with regard to transport distances and the availability of electricity with a low carbon footprint.