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The World’s First 60MW Subcritical Blast Furnace Gas Power Generation Project

Jun 16, 2022

Capital Engineering & Research Incorporation Ltd. used Bentley applications to create a digital model of innovative new power generation technology, which generates power 60% more efficiently than similar generators.

2021 Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure Winner; Power Generation

Improving Power Generation from Waste Gas

Manufacturing and processing metals often involves heating coal to high temperatures to produce coke that is then used to convert iron ore into steel in a blast furnace. Both coke production and blast furnace operations generate massive amounts of superheated gas by-products that are thick with carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals. Today, most steel plants harness the hot gases within power generators to generate electricity on-site, which also reduces emissions. However, the thermal efficiency of the on-site generators is significantly lower than other forms of power generation, which requires them to have large footprints. Capital Engineering & Research Incorporation Ltd. (CERI) worked to find a way to both improve the amount of energy generated on-site while reducing the size of the generating equipment. The key to accomplishing both goals was to determine how to make the generating process significantly more efficient.

Challenges with Building New Technology

In 2020, CERI determined how to create the world’s first ultra-high pressure, subcritical gas generator set with the smallest installed capacity and the highest parameters. The technology they used would boost power generation efficiency by more than 60% and significantly shrink the required footprint. Though CERI developed the technology, they then had to put it into practice by building their new generator in a metal manufacturing plant in Changshu, Jiangsu, China. However, the design team at CERI faced many challenges. For one, the design required multiple disciplines to work on the project, which heightened the risk of clashes. Additionally, these disciplines were spread out through their partner’s headquarters and project sites, making communication, coordination, and collaboration difficult. The design team also had to find a way to construct the new system while minimizing disruptions to ongoing factory operations. As a result, CERI needed a method for designing the generating unit that could solve all the challenges that they faced.

Finding Solutions with Digital Design

CERI soon determined they could make their innovative new generation system a reality by going digital with Bentley applications. First, they established a collaborative digital environment with ProjectWise to enable the disparate disciplines to seamlessly work together, which helped to reduce errors, omissions, and clashes. Next, they used the open-source Bentley applications to design and place components, as well as to develop efficient design tools that closely aligned with their existing work habits, which enhanced efficiency. Once the individual design teams finished their components, they created a federated model of the entire power generation unit. They then used AssetWise to establish an engineering data centre that contained detailed information for the full lifecycle of the unit. Lastly, they used SYNCHRO to create a 4D simulation and carefully plan construction around ongoing factory operations.

Improving Generation while Reducing Emissions

CERI used their new technology to build the world’s first 60-megawatt subcritical blast furnace gas power generator, which is a breakthrough in power generation miniaturization. As expected, the generation efficiency is 60% higher than traditional power generating units. Because the unit now generates electricity more efficiently, the steel plant owner now earns CNY 230 million from power generation and produces steel more effectively, which allows them to lower the cost of steel production by CNY 70 per ton. The new technology also reduces blast furnace emissions by 1.4 billion normal cubic meters and significantly lowers emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, and other materials. Handling power needs within the plant itself has greatly reduced the load on the local power grid, which will help the region meet carbon neutrality goals.

Project Playbook: AssetWise, AutoPIPE, AutoPLANT, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, ContextCapture, MicroStation, OpenBuildings, OpenComms Designer, OpenPlant, OpenRoads Designer, ProjectWise, ProStructures, STAAD, SYNCHRO 4D


Quote: “Bentley software has become an indispensable tool for us in engineering digitalization. The company has been continuously exploring and developing new technologies, which will help us achieve engineering intelligence in the near future.” Yang Bingsong, BIM Manager, Capital Engineering & Research Incorporation Ltd.