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Beijing, China–(Newsfile Corp. – July 1, 2021) –  By early July 2021, the 37,500Nm3/h VPSA oxygen unit (Phase II) of the general energy plant of Hunan Valin Lianyuan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “LY Steel”) has been put into operation for more than 3 months. Injecting enriched oxygen into No. 6 and No.8 blast furnaces, it’s exclusively equipped for large-scale oxygen-enriched PCI for blast furnaces. Closely related to it is the 25,000Nm3/h VPSA oxygen generating unit (Phase I) put into operation in early January this year. The two oxygen plants will be combined into an extra-large VPSA oxygen generating system (62,500Nm3/h, 80%) which is going to be one of the largest VPSA oxygen units in the world. It is the No.1 Project of LY Steel’s 10-million-ton superior special steel capacity optimization project.

1.Obvious Benefits Generated by VPSA Oxygen Plant (Phase I) – Supply & Demand Contradiction Finally Alleviated

Prior to this, LY Steel had 5 sets of cryogenic air separation units (ASU) with a total oxygen capacity of approximately 105,000Nm3/h. Preliminary calculations show the oxygen demand for 10-million-ton steel production is more than 130,000Nm3/h, so the initial pure oxygen shortage is at least 25,000Nm3/h and will be even larger in the future.

After investigating the VPSA oxygen production process in depth and visiting VPSA oxygen equipment workshops of many steel enterprises, the technical expert group of LY Steel came to a conclusion that PKU Pioneer’s VPSA oxygen production process has obvious advantages and more advanced indicators. They also highly recognized PKU Pioneer’s core technologies, i.e., the self-developed patented lithium-based molecular sieve, radial adsorber, high-level automatic control and intelligent centralized adjustment of the oxygen system. Achieving unattended operation will better meet LY Steel’s needs for lean and efficient production.

Soon, the two parties reached a smooth cooperation on the construction of the 25,000Nm3/h oxygen production project (Phase I). Under the huge liquid oxygen supply pressure of LY Steel, PKU Pioneer made every effort to promote the construction, as a result, the project was finally delivered 10 days in advance. With the 25,000/80 oxygen gas unit fully reaching the designed capacity, the local liquid oxygen price once even dropped from $201 to $123 per ton and LY Steel successfully achieved the low-cost oxygen supply for 10-million-ton steel production, thus completely resolving the long-pending oxygen supply and demand contradiction. In addition, a part of the ASU capacity was successfully transferred to the converter and a favorable opportunity was also gained for the ASU maintenance shut-down.

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2.Shorten Construction Period to Expand Production Capacity and 60,000Nm3/h VPSA Oxygen Capacity Surmounted

In 2020, LY Steel has seen growth of the annual steel output and achieved 10 million tons for the first time. In order to accelerate optimizing the 10-million-ton production capacity of superior special steel, LY Steel quickly adjusted its deployment to further expand the capacity of VPSA oxygen unit and build another set of VPSA oxygen gas equipment with a capacity of 37,500Nm3/h, which would form an extra-large VPSA oxygen unit over 62,500Nm3/h together with the Phase I project. On December 15, 2020, the construction of the 37,500/80 VPSA oxygen system was officially started.

As the initiating unit of the EPC project, PKU Pioneer, leading the design, construction & installation companies, is fully responsible for the overall designing, supply of the complete set of equipment, installation and debugging, on-site construction management, instrument control software programming, system commissioning for oxygen production as well as operation optimization, etc. On the premise of ensuring the oxygen generator meets the design indicators, PKU Pioneer got down to solve the problem of tight construction work from various aspects and worked as carefully as possible.

It’s widely known that in 2020, all parts of China have been in long-time epidemic prevention and control. The seemingly routine tasks such as personnel mobility, component production, and non-standard transportation have added more difficulties to the project implementation during the epidemic. But PKU Pioneer quickly explored and summarized the construction experience under the normalized epidemic environment. After the project started, PKU Pioneer and the LY Steel project team jointly formulated a scientific and feasible project implementation plan:

1.Organize workers of different work types to meet daily to adjust the construction volume by day according to the actual progress. Establish a construction schedule daily reporting mechanism and strictly implement it to ensure the realization of the project targets by taking controllable measures in the process.

2.In terms of components’ manufacturing, the project manager should assign technical personnel to supervise the production at the manufacturing plant and report the progress on a weekly basis to ensure the equipment components are delivered as scheduled.

3.Establish an impeccable construction command and coordination mechanism prefabricated in different work areas and modules to achieve “no manpower shortage and no construction vacuum zone” on site.

4.Improve and optimize civil construction methods to create a new construction model combined with the VPSA oxygen production process to not only realize simultaneous civil construction and equipment installation but also effectively avoid crossed construction.

PKU Pioneer and LY Steel sincerely collaborated to overcome difficulties and strove to minimize the impact of the epidemic. Through meticulous organization and scientific management, the designing, manufacturing and installation were effectively guaranteed to be implemented on time.

According to the comprehensive power consumption since the operation of the first and second-phase VPSA oxygen generator, the operating cost is less than $0.03/m3 (100% pure oxygen), saving more than 30% of the oxygen usage cost. In addition, by improving the oxygen enrichment rate of the blast furnace, the total output was increased by 500,000 tons. The coke ratio was drastically reduced during the same period and the coal gas power generation was increased. In sum, the annual comprehensive profits were remarkable.

The successful completion of LY Steel’s 62,500Nm3/h VPSA oxygen generation project will positively promote the application of ultra-large-capacity VPSA oxygen production technology in iron and steel area in the world. In the future, VPSA-O2 generation technology, serving as an effective means for the blast furnace oxygen enrichment, will attract more and more 10-million-ton-level steel mills to make it an important component of the energy system, and strongly supplement iron & steel mills’ oxygen supply with significant advantages such as shorter construction period, lower cost, and faster effects, etc.

Media Contact

Contact Person: Joyce Young
Company Name: Beijing Peking University Pioneer Technology Corporation Ltd.
Address: 4-5th Floor, New Times Mansion, No. 7 Huayuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China
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Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

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