5 reasons why steel makers need digital twins to jumpstart decarbonization

Steel is used in almost every industry and can have a tremendous economic and environmental impact. Steel is a highly emission-intensive industry. In 2020, 1.89 tonnes of CO2 were released into the environment for every tonne of steel produced. A total of 2.6 billion tonnes of direct emissions from the industry were generated in 2020, accounting for 7% to 9% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions worldwide.

Decarbonizing steel can be a complicated process, with many new and innovative technologies at the forefront. As of now, the technologies have not made it to market in their entirety. This is especially true for emerging economies, where commercially available technologies remain under-utilized. Hence, the steel industry cannot transition to green steel in the same way across different regions.

The steel production industry as a whole lags behind other industries in terms of sustainable operations and practices. Steelmaking requires a massive amount of energy, and the energy needed for it is typically produced by burning fossil fuels, a process that has been worsening the global climate crisis due to carbon emissions. Even though many steel producers have already begun the transformation process, switching to green steel won’t happen overnight because it would require large amounts of investments in terms of process transformation. The length of this shift, such as the adoption of green hydrogen-based steel, is also unknown.

The development of new technology further increases the difficulties for steelmakers. For instance, green hydrogen-based steel necessitates a large increase in the capacity of power produced from renewable sources. Steel producers should start today and adjust their business practices for higher efficiency rather than waiting for the availability of drastically new production processes.

To begin with, companies should focus on incremental improvements in order to decrease energy input, reduce carbon emissions, and increase material efficiency. Given how large the steel industry’s carbon footprint is, even small improvements can make a big difference in moving the industry closer to carbon neutrality.

Steel manufacturers need digital tools to help them make better, faster, and data-driven decisions. As the industry has been struggling to keep up with innovation due to its largely manual processes such as legacy planning tools and systems, increasing the traceability of steel products and executing faster and more efficient processes requires digitalization across the supply chain.

What are Digital Twins?

Digital Twins are virtual replicas of a physical process, product, or place. From a business standpoint, the capacity to build digital twins is revolutionary. Well-designed digital twin solutions can offer a whole lot of benefits ranging from improved product quality to better sustainability impact.

Here are the five reasons steelmakers need to utilize the cutting-edge technology of digital twins to jumpstart as well as accelerate their decarbonization journey.

  1. Optimizing Operations: Digital twins enable steel makers in testing what can be developed and completed in the actual world through modeling, simulation, and visualization – thanks to the sophisticated technology of Artificial Intelligence. Steelmakers can simulate, analyze, and optimize operational scenarios before investing time and resources in new processes and products.
  2. Drive Operations Planning: Operational efficiency is a key to achieving improved productivity and sustainability, but it can be challenging to know where to begin. The insights provided by digital twins are essential for achieving operational efficiencies throughout the value chain. Steel companies can collect real-time data on assets and processes, which are then analyzed through digital twins. Digital twins can detect possible bottlenecks in advance as well as their fixes in the process.
  3. Supply chain agility: The main problem with the steel industry’s supply chain is being unable to keep up with the rising demands, forcing steel companies to operate at a considerably higher capacity than they generally do. With digital twins, steel companies can monitor the lead times in the supply chain and make real-time modifications to prevent probable glitches.
  4. Improved Productivity: The issue of staff turnover affects almost all industries. Each time a knowledgeable employee quits, they nearly invariably take their expertise with them, which affects production. By using a digital twin, steel companies can remotely monitor and support most of these issues. Experts located off-site can also monitor operating equipment using digital twin ecosystems.
  5. Accelerated Sustainability Efforts: Digital twins can offer the data, visibility, and visualization to enhance performance across many sustainability-related KPIs when incorporated into a larger digital transformation strategy. For instance, steel plants can use a plant-wide digital twin model to explore chances for collective improvement and identify probable areas for efficiency by connecting various assets and process data. The business can therefore take action to decrease energy use or identify strategies to boost production capacity without utilizing more resources.

Asset and Process control digital twins from Eugenie

Eugenie offers SaaS-based digital twins for heavy industries which have helped companies across industries in reducing their carbon footprint and improving operational efficiency by 15 to 20%.

The asset control digital twin of Eugenie offers a holistic view of the complex asset hierarchies with easy navigation. Operations teams get insights and alerts to identify abnormalities during operations. The probability of unexpected machine failure, leading to downtimes and revenue loss is reduced drastically with Eugenie’s asset control digital twins.

Eugenie’s process control digital twin enables monitoring and tracking of real-time process dynamics, quality throughput, and emissions. The solution continuously checks the target KPIs identify the root causes of process deviations and recommended corrective actions through process controls.

With Eugenie, integration of asset and process control digital twins can be done seamlessly to achieve the accurate tracking of plant operations and emissions. Both digital twins are based on our award-winning patented AI.

Conclusion

Steel is one of the most sustainable materials; it’s permanent, reusable, and can be recycled. Going forward, preference for ‘Green Steel’ – steel made with less carbon footprint will be evident, largely due to pressures from investors, customers, governments, and regulators.

As the global decarbonization drive picks up speed, lowering carbon emissions is crucial for steelmakers. Steelmakers who act now to enhance the sustainability of operations can benefit from environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indicators to gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead of changing carbon restrictions.

Sign up for our product demo to discover how you can transform your steel manufacturing plant operations for efficiency, resilience, and sustainability.

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