The largest low-carbon electric furnace in Europe

In France Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation is continuing its efforts to conserve resources and limit the impact of its activity by installing a furnace powered by decarbonized electricity. As a result, it has reduced its CO2 emissions and is able to recycle 100% of cast iron waste. 

Photo Credit: Viktor Macha

In order to reduce as much as possible its environmental impact, inherent to industrial production, Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation, supported by the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), has just invested nearly €10 million to acquire the largest low-carbon electric furnace in Europe (for ductile iron pipes).

The company has already managed to pull off several other ambitious initiatives: the large loop project (recirculation of industrial water cutting the volume used by two-thirds), the recovery of gas from its blast furnace (reused to operate the Pont-à-Mousson plant in France), selecting only raw materials with an Ecovadis label, telescoping technique to reduce the CO2 impact of transportation, and implementing an energy management system at all its sites.

CO2 emission-free production

Investing in a large, low-carbon electric furnace is a further step towards Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation's ecological transition. This furnace means production emits no CO2 and requires no water extraction from the outside environment, significantly reducing the business’s environmental footprint (reducing CO2 emissions by up to 10% per metric ton of cast iron produced by Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation in Europe).

This system reinforces the virtuous logic of the local manufacturing loop adopted by Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation, where 100% of the pipes sold in Europe are manufactured in Europe - mainly in France (75%) - thereby reducing CO2 consumption compared to pipes imported from Asia or India. Using decarbonized electricity in France will mean lower emissions compared with those processes using carbon energy.

A further step towards the circular economy

100% of the ductile iron material used by Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation can be indefinitely recycled with no loss of performance. With this in mind, Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation has developed a recycling service for old cast iron pipes, cutting out all final waste. The old pipes are transported to Saint-Gobain PAM Canalisation's plants, where they are broken into pieces before being remelted in a cupola furnace to produce new pipes.

This new furnace, known as the secondary melting furnace, makes it possible to recycle almost 100% of the cast iron waste from the primary melting process, limiting the use of natural resources and the impact of transporting raw materials.

An effective response for customers

With its capacity of 120,000 metric tons of cast iron per year, the new furnace will increase production, enabling the company to respond more quickly to customer needs. This furnace can also be shut down and restarted more frequently, providing greater flexibility in response to demand.

Read our story: Are there any materials that can be infinitely recycled?