08 Sep 2016

British Steel commissioning new £10m benzole plant in Scunthorpe

British Steel is commissioning a new high-technology £10m benzole plant at its Scunthorpe works. 

It comes after 250,000 man hours went in to completing an extensive renovation project at the site’s Appleby Coke Ovens.

The new plant, which will bring significant safety and environmental benefits, will use state-of-the-art technology to transform benzole gases released during the coke-making process into a liquid product that can then be used in the chemical industry.

The £10 million plant has just been successfully built and will replace the current benzole operation that services the coke ovens.

British Steel’s manufacturing director Dave Nicol said: “Commissioning the new benzole plant represents a significant investment for us.

“The new operation uses the very latest technology and will provide British Steel with a highly efficient plant, that not only improves process safety but brings significant environmental benefits.

“Capturing by-products from all our operations, including coke-making, is incredibly important as we place great value on the ability to re-use and recycle substances such as gases. For example, a large amount of the energy we use is generated from by-products in the steel-making process.

“Here at British Steel we have some incredible assets with great capabilities and equipment. We have the opportunity to do more with them by investing in them – and that investment doesn’t just mean putting money into them, it’s also about maintaining them and making the most of their potential.”

Benzole can be used in industrial processes to manufacture rubbers, plastics, lubricants, dyes and synthetic fibres.

And the commissioning of the plant will mark a significant milestone in the redevelopment of the Appleby Coke Ovens (ACO).

The coke ovens date back to the 1930s and in recent months a great deal of time and money has been invested to improve their efficiency and capability.

Blended coal is heated at ACO to produce coke. The coke is used in the blast furnace with the charged iron ores to produce liquid iron. The liquid iron is then converted to steel at the steel plant.

Appleby Coke Ovens has four batteries – each containing a series of ovens – and employees at Scunthorpe have completed an extensive recovery project at battery 3.

The work started last December and the project included replacing all the oven door frames, the installation of new pusher rails and support beams. All this was achieved while working between two live batteries that continued to charge and push ovens, producing coke for the site’s blast furnaces – Anne and Victoria.

The principal contractor on the benzole and ACO projects was Otto Simon Ltd and all those involved have been praised for their excellent safety performance.

Jim Worsley, Plant manager ACO, said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone for their efforts throughout the project.

“There were significant challenges managing multiple work groups and conducting high-risk work in a difficult environment. Working in and around a live plant meant there had to be a complete focus on safety.

“ACO has had a very productive 12 months. Delivering a 50 per cent improvement in our safety performance, along with nearly doubling the plant output, is an incredible achievement.

“The team at ACO has a lot to be proud of.” 

Media enquiries 

David Atkin: +44 1724 406898/+44 7919 292936 or email media@longssteel.com