CO2 Footprints and the Heat Treatment Industry

The Monty Heat Treat News” published this article earlier this year but in 2023 we will be publishing a new series of articles related to CO2 emissions in conjunction with the “Aichelin Group“. 

In conjunction with the “Aichelin Group”, “The Monty Heat Treat News” has an ongoing series about CO2 emissions and the heat treatment industry. In this summary we look at how much CO2 is generated to produce both a large mass part and a small mass part. You will note that this comparison looks at the emissions generated in France, USA, Germany, China and Poland and comes to the conclusion that due to the fact that most energy in Poland and China comes from coal, these two countries have far and away the highest emissions.

Large Mass Part;

  • The heat treatment required to produce 2.2 pounds of larger steel parts (about 1 kg) requires about 1 – 2 kg of CO2 (depending on the use of recycled steel)
  • If the part is forged this would add about 0.1 – 0.2 kg of CO2
  • The machining process would result in a loss of material of about 5-20%
  • The really interesting part is how much CO2 the final heat treatment process adds to the entire process whether it is Carburizing, hardening or annealing. Typically this would be about 0.05 – 0.5 kg of CO2. Obviously heat treatment is adding a relatively small amount of CO2 emissions as compared to producing the part, this ranges from 5 to 50% depending upon the process.

Small Mass Part;

  • The heat treatment required to produce 2.2 pounds (1kg) of smaller steel parts during the product life cycle creates from 1.7 to 2kg of CO2.
  • Machining & Stamping processes would cause a loss of about 5-20%
  • The most interesting thing is what final heat treatment would add assuming this is one on a mesh belt furnace. This has been broken down by European country depending upon where their energy comes from. Heat Treatment (typical on mesh belts):
  • In France approximately 0.05 – 0.1 kg CO2 would be added, a very small amount due to the fact that most electricity in France is generated through nuclear power.
  • In the USA and Germany typically 0.1 – 0.2 kg of CO2 would be added
  • Poland & China (assuming electric heat) 0.25 – 0,35 kg of CO2 would be added which reflects the fact that much of their power is generated through coal.

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