POSCO’s FINEX technology is regarded as a highly innovative steelmaking technology that has changed the paradigm of the global steel industry. Now, POSCO opens up a new era in the industry with an improved version of FINEX.
The company announced on May 16 that its FINEX 2 Plant, which had been in successful operation for 10 years and 11 months until February this year, was put into second-phase operation on May 11 after furnace rebuilding that took 79 days. The plant produced 1,200 tons of molten metal in 26 hours after the initiation of the second-phase operation.
FINEX dates back to the early 1990s. POSCO increased its R&D investment for the steelmaking technology from 1992 and completed the construction of a demonstration plant with an annual capacity of 600,000 tons in Pohang in 2003.
The construction of the FINEX 2 Plant with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tons began in 2004 and the plant was put into operation in May 2007. During the period, POSCO invested 500 billion won in R&D on the new technology. Since then, FINEX has constituted the backbone of POSCO’s competitiveness. The FINEX 2 Plant produced a total of 14 million tons of molten metal during the 10 years and 11 months. Four years ago, POSCO put into operation the FINEX 3 Plant with an annual capacity of two million tons.
FINEX is cost-saving and eco-friendly. It requires no raw material pretreatment and uses inexpensive bituminous coal and iron ore powder and, as such, can reduce investment and production costs to a large extent compared to general blast furnaces with the same capacity.
In addition, its SOx, NOx and ultrafine particle emissions are 40%, 15% and 34% of those of blast furnaces, respectively. At present, POSCO has more than 250 domestic and international patents regarding FINEX.
POSCO has further enhanced the competitiveness of FINEX through the rebuilding process. Specifically, it adopted stainless steel for a higher level of facility durability when it comes to dispersion plates separating gas and fine iron ore from each other for iron ore reduction and adopted direct CO gas supply through furnace pipes, instead of CO gas pipes installed on the wall of a reduction furnace, for a longer refractory life cycle. In addition, the same dry dust collectors for hot compacted iron and coal briquette transporting equipment as in the FINEX 3 Plant have been installed for environmental protection and cost reduction.
The first-phase operation of the FINEX 2 Plant continued for 10 years and 11 months as mentioned above. This duration was longer by more than two years than the first-phase operation of the FINEX 1 Plant.