Eramet Norway’s development group in Trondheim has the goal of becoming a leading centre of expertise in on-site applied research. It aims to be a major contributor to the ERAMET Group’s strategy of ensuring sustainable development.
There are two main players in the ERAMET Group’s research activities:
- ERAMET Research, the group’s research centre in Paris, with nearly 150 employees and metallurgy- and mining-related research facilities
- Eramet Norway’s development group in Trondheim, which comprises three researchers with access to the facilities and expertise of NTNU and SINTEF
The development group works closely with the processing plants to analyse and solve technical and production-related issues. The group relies on a network of expert specialists from academia, research institutes, consulting firms and other industries.
Supporting national and regional initiatives
Eramet Norway supports national and regional initiatives through the Norwegian Ferroalloy Producers Research Association (FFF) and extensive working relationships with NTNU, SINTEF, the Eyde Network, Teknova and Tel-Tek. The Research Council of Norway provides major financial support for the realization of R&D projects, as well as financial support for internal research through the SkatteFUNN scheme. Through FFF, valuable knowledge has been developed in many areas of the company’s processes. In recent years, the FFF projects have frequently focused on the environment and have thereby contributed to improving Eramet Norway’s performance in this area.
Focus on improved process stability
The development group focuses on improving process stability in areas such as raw materials handling, metallurgical process development, environmental protection and safety. All these activities promote improved utilization of raw materials and energy, which in turn has had a positive environmental impact.
Reduction of emissions and better use of byproducts
The environmental projects aim to reduce emissions to the internal and external environment, and to utilize the byproducts from the production processes. All these activities are conducted transparently and in cooperation with the authorities (particularly the Norwegian Environment Agency) and other industries affected by the same issues.
Smart design using CFD
In our efforts to reduce emissions to air, we are using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to identify a smart design for an efficient and cost-effective method of collecting the dust and fumes resulting from production.
After checking the models against measurements taken on the production floor, various alternative solutions can be tested through digital simulation before a final solution is adopted. This method has resulted in significant progress in reducing emissions related to tapping and casting of metal.
Future use of sludge
Every year, large amounts of sludge are produced as a result of filtering waste gases. The properties and chemical composition of the sludge make it difficult to recycle or to use in other industrial applications. Through structured, long-term research, however, Eramet Norway has accumulated extensive knowledge about sludge and has conducted testing aimed at qualifying processes and equipment for future utilization of these byproducts.
Current development projects
At the Sauda processing plant, two important development projects got under way in 2012 in cooperation with SINTEF and NTNU:
- The first project involved the installation and trial testing of laser meters and air velocity meters in order to quantify emissions into the atmosphere from the plant’s two smelting furnaces. Thus far, results are promising, and the goal now is to test laser meters from two suppliers with a view to installing the meters on both furnaces in the autumn of 2014.
- The other project is development of a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) model of the furnace hall in Sauda. This model makes it possible, for example, to simulate how a proposed reconstruction would affect exhaust and air currents. Further optimization of the model will continue, with a special focus on air currents in the hall, which are greatly influenced by open or closed entryways.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has lead responsibility for providing post-secondary technological education in Norway.
SINTEF, the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, is a Norwegian research group that markets research-based knowledge and related services based on insights in technology, the natural sciences, medicine and the social sciences.
The Eyde Network brings together all industrial innovation expertise in southern Norway.
Teknova was established to meet the need for a technical and scientific research institute to work in close cooperation with the University of Agder, Agder Research, and the manufacturing and commerce sectors in southern Norway.
Tel-Tek is a national R&D institute focused on energy-efficient production processes and low emissions. The institute operates on a contract basis, conducting projects for and in collaboration with industry and public funding bodies.