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Electric Arc Furnaces: The State-of-the-Art in Steelmaking Technology

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Electric arc furnaces (EAFs) are used in steelmaking to heat material through an electric arc and chemical reactions fueled by oxygen and other fuels. The process involves a refractory-lined vessel, which is typically water-cooled in larger sizes, with a retractable roof and one or multiple graphite electrodes entering the furnace. It is important to note that technical abbreviations will always be explained when first used. Here are some important information about electric arc furnaces:

Overview of Electric Arc Furnaces

Electric arc furnaces (EAFs) are the modern technology used in steelmaking, with over 2,000 worldwide references.

EAFs can melt various charge mixes, ranging from 100% scrap to 100% DRI/HBI, including hot metal, and all possible mixtures between the two extremes.

The charged material directly encounters an electric arc in the EAF, and the furnace electrodes' current passes through the charged material. Arc furnaces differ from induction furnaces, in which the material is heated by eddy currents instead of a direct arc.

Advantages of Electric Arc Furnaces

Electric arc furnaces can only be powered by low-carbon energy sources, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear power. This further reduces emissions and embodied energy associated with steelmaking, as well as other materials requiring furnaces, including glass. As a result, EAFs are an attractive option for the green industry.

Another advantage of EAFs is their ability to recycle scrap steel, which reduces the need for virgin materials that contribute to increased energy consumption and emissions.

Furthermore, EAFs can produce high-quality steel with minimal impurities.

Recent Developments in Electric Arc Furnaces

The deployment of an array of innovative technologies, thanks to the recent development of smart technology and high-speed computer analysis, rapidly shapes the traditional EAF process into a closely controlled, more predictable, and real-time-optimized operation. The implementation of these technologies also enables dynamic process optimization, while dramatically decreasing total energy consumption.

Tenova's Consteel® Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) is an efficient steelmaking process in which the raw feed materials are continuously heated and charged into the furnace.

Tenova recently optimized consumption and processes for the safe production of ORI Martin's revamped electric arc furnace (EAF).

Tenova has also been contracted to replace one of Tenaris's main mill's existing EAF units with a new Consteel® EAF, resulting in the same productivity as the combined output of the two existing EAFs.


Electric arc furnaces are a cutting-edge steelmaking technology that provides numerous benefits, such as the capacity to use low-carbon energy sources, recycle steel scrap and forge high-quality steel with minimal impurities. Smart technology and high-speed computer analysis advancements are fundamentally transforming the conventional EAF process into one that is closely monitored, more foreseeable, and optimized in real-time.