Ovako is working hard to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. This is achieved through more efficient use of raw materials and energy, and by constantly trying to minimise emissions to air and water. Manufacturing and processing steel requires a lot of energy. The group is actively working to make its energy use more efficient and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At the same time, Ovako’s steel is used in products that contribute to reducing environmental impact at the user end. An example of this is Ovako’s IQSteel. All of Ovako’s operations have environmental permits that comply with each country’s prevailing environmental legislation. During 2014, Imatra renewed its environmental permit until 2024.
The new permit tightened only the conditions for emissions to air, due to changes in environmental legislation. Efforts are ongoing to renew environmental permits at Hofors and Smedjebacken. Ovako’s operations in Smedjebacken and Boxholm have implemented the ISO 50001 energy management system. Work is ongoing in Hofors and Hällefors to implement the energy management system, and the operations will be certified to ISO 50001 during 2016.
Steel is an important construction material and is found everywhere in society. As a material, it can be recycled indefinitely without any loss of properties. Ovako’s steel production is completely scrap-based, making Ovako the Nordic region’s biggest consumer of steel scrap. Scrap use means that no new iron ore is mined for steel production. This means, among other things, reduced resource consumption and reduced emissions of carbon dioxide.
The scrap used in the operations is sorted and handled in different grades depending on content, size and shape. The purpose of this is to optimally use the alloying elements contained in the scrap and thus reduce the proportion of new alloying elements which otherwise would have to be added. Actively working to optimise scrap sorting based
on alloy content brings economic and environmental benefits.
Ovako focuses on developing new uses for residual products as this contributes to a resource efficient society.
Local environmental work
Ovako’s environmental work is conducted locally at each operating location since their environmental impact is primarily local and regional. Each unit works with self-monitoring of its environmental impact. This is achieved through sampling and monitoring of emissions to air and water and by measuring and calculating the external noise levels. Noise surveys have been conducted at a number of units to identify the operation’s total noise level. Based on these surveys, Ovako works to reduce noise levels, among other things by installing mufflers and putting up noise shields.
All operating locations work continuously on improving energy efficiency. Imatra, Smedjebacken and Boxholm are all involved in various energy efficiency programmes. In Hofors a heat treatment furnace was converted in 2014 from LPG to electric operation, which reduces overall energy consumption and eliminates emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Safety is also considerably improved through the elimination of LPG handling. This conversion has been so successful that Ovako is planning furnace conversions at more locations.