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Tata invests £53M to cut plant's energy bill

Tata Steel has announced plans to reduce the power required by its Port Talbot steelworks in a bid to progress its aim of becoming self-sufficient in energy.

A £53M investment will allow Tata to introduce a cooling system at the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant that will produce steam - allowing electricity to be generated. The firm hopes the move will save around 10MW of energy, which is enough to power 20,000 homes.

The director of Tata Steel’s UK Strip Products business said that by equipping the BOS plant with a state-of-the-art evaporative cooling system, the company will be able to improve Port Talbot’s productivity and energy efficiency. Jon Ferriman added: “We will also build on the ability to recycle and reuse process gases that our Energy Recovery plant brought us.”

Tata, which employs around 7,500 people in Wales, said the scheme will further improve its environmental performance and demonstrates a commitment to its objective to make its steel operations in the country “a benchmark for the European industry”.

The multimillion-pound investment comes after an announcement last year that Tata was spending £185 million on a rebuilding programme for Port Talbot’s No 4 blast furnace, and follows the completion of the £60M BOS plant Energy Recovery project.

The new project will replace the BOS plant’s existing off-gas water-cooling system with an evaporative system that will produce steam, which will then be converted to electricity through a turbine. Work is due to be carried out in the second half of 2012.

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