Liberty Speciality Steels begins studies waste heat recovery potential

South-Yorkshire based Liberty Speciality Steels, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, has begun investigations into the potential deployment of waste heat recovery technology at its Rotherham and Stocksbridge sites.

The operation melts scrap into liquid steel which it turns into a wide range of specialist steels and alloys for industries such as aerospace, automotive and oil and gas.

Assessment of the potential for heat recovery commenced in June following the award of a £110,000 grant from the UK Government’s Industrial Heat Recovery Support (IHRS) programme. The programme is designed to encourage and support investment in heat recovery technologies, helping businesses to lower their fuel costs, reduce waste heat and cut emissions.

The grant has enabled Liberty to team up with ARUP, an international firm of consulting engineers and technical specialists. ARUP engineers visited both Stockbridge and Rotherham in June to meet Liberty engineers, see operations first hand and begin work on a feasibility study. An expert in the field of heat recovery, Professor Mo Zandi from the University of Sheffield, also joined the visit.

A number of processes and operations at Rotherham and Stocksbridge generate a significant amount of heat, which is lost to the atmosphere, , Head of Environment and Energy at Liberty Speciality Steels explained.

“Waste heat is generated by our furnaces, billet re-heating and boiler plant. Working with ARUP, we’re investigating the feasibility of investing in technology to capture this heat and convert it into electricity.

"Capturing the heat would require considerable investment in technology. The feasibility and preliminary engineering studies undertaken in this initial phase of the IHRS programme will enable us to see if heat recovery is economically viable,” he added.

If feasible, Heath-Whyte said Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology will be used to recover waste heat. In simple terms, ORC is based on a turbo-generator working as a conventional steam turbine to transform thermal energy into mechanical energy and, finally, into electric energy through an electrical generator.

Some waste heat surveys, which we conducted back in 2012, indicate that there’s potential for us to recover heat worth many thousands of pounds,” said Heath-Whyte.

“Taking part in this programme is an exciting step, allowing us to investigate in more detail how we could cut our electricity costs and further reduce indirect emissions.”

GFG Alliance, a coalition of companies focused on low-carbon and environmentally sustainable production and recycling of steel and aluminium.

The waste heat recovery project at Rotherham and Stocksbridge will contribute to GFG’s wider GREENSTEEL vision to build a secure future upon lower carbon production methods, that also includes recycling metal and greater use of renewable energy.


Members of the IHRS project team on a visit to ‘N’ Furnace in June included (L-R) Richard Earl (Environmental Engineer), Jake Hagyard (Graduate E&E Engineer), Ed Heath-Whyte (Head of Environment and Energy), Martin Gannon (Energy Optimisation Manager), Scott Jackson (PSM Manager), Richard Mizzi (ARUP Project Manager), Maha Khan (ARUP Energy Consultant), Professor Mo Zandi (ARUP/University of Sheffield) and Richard White (ACP Works Engineer). Dave Straw (Project Engineering Manager) and Ben Holroyd (Project Engineer) are also on the team.


About the Author

Clare is the Energy and Sustainability Manager at Northampton General Hospital.