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Training Courses

Cokemaking Course

May 14-19, 2023

We are currently planning for the next course to be held May 14 - 19, 2023.  As we develop the content, please view the 2019 material below for an indication of what to expect from the course.  

Coke and its properties are fundamental to the energy and productivity of the iron blast furnace process which is still today the most energy efficient method to produce hot metal for steelmaking. The course will present “state-of-the-art” knowledge of the entire cokemaking process at a level that will be useful to operators, researchers and suppliers to the industry. 

This course will provide fundamental and practical information from global industry experts who will cover a comprehensive list of topics from coal in the ground, through the cokemaking process and into the blast furnace including By-products.

Oven recovery and non-recovery cokemaking will be discussed along with energy and environmental topics that are pertinent to the cokemaking industry around the world.

2023 Organizing Committee

Jodi Kesik, ArcelorMittal Dofasco (Chair)
Neslihan Dogan, McMaster University (Secretary)
Carter Dumont, Stelco
Jason Halko, Teck
Jarred Kapush, Algoma Steel
Ted Todoschuk, ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Lectures and Abstracts 2019

  • The History of Cokemaking, Ken Kobus, Retired from U. S. Steel,
  • Coke in the Blast Furnace, Joseph Poveromo, Raw Materials & Iron Making,
  • Fundamentals of Coal and Coke Characterization, Louis Giroux, CanmetENERGY
  • Environmental Issues Facing the Coking Industry into the 21st Century, Andy Sebestyen, Stelco
  • Theory of Carbonization, Ted Todoschuk, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • Machinery Design and Automation, Sven Badura, Thyssenkrupp Uhde Engineering Services,
  • Principles of Coke Oven Design, R.V. Ramani, Uhde Corporation of America,
  • Coke Oven Energy Balance and Recovery, John Busser, Hatch,
  • Prolonging Asset Life, Jean Paul Gaillet, Centre de Pyrolyse de Marienau,
  • Control of Battery Heating, Retired from R.V. Ramani, Uhde Corporation of America
  • Non-Recovery Cokemaking Fundaments and Principles, John Quanci, SunCoke Energy,
  • Non-Recovery Cokemaking Case Studies, John Quanci, SunCoke Energy
  • Introduction to the Byproduct Plant, Brian Onisheko, Essar
  • Tar and Light Oil Recovery, Carter Dumont, U. S. Steel Canada.
  • Removal of Sulphur and Ammonia from Coke Oven Gas, Carter Dumont, U. S. Steel Canada
  • Effects of Gas Quality on Operations, Greg Elder, Consultant
  • Design of Coal Blend for Required Coke Properties, Hardarshan Valia, Coal Science, Inc. ,
  • Coal from Ground to Coke Plant, Jason Halko, Teck Coal Limited

Cokemaking Case Study (Half-Day)

R.V. Ramani, Uhde Corporation of America
Ken Blake, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
Jodi Kesik, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
Karl Svoboda, ByPro Engineering Inc.,

Byproduct Operation Case Study (Half-Day)

Greg Elder, Consultant
Carter Dumont, U. S. Steel Canada



 The History of Cokemaking
 Ken Kobus, Retired from US Steel Corp., Clairton Works

Cokemaking has ancient origins. There are references that indicate that the Greeks were aware of the carbonization of coal as early as 371 BC. Since that time, the coking of coals has been accomplished in pits, mounds, and retorts, as well as beehive and slot type ovens.

Modern use of coke for ironmaking dates to Abraham Darby of England in about 1708. In America, early cokemaking was centered in the Connellsville region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. There, the beehive ovens that were operated, were well suited for coking the rich bituminous coals of the Pittsburgh seam. The immense value of Connellsville coke as a blast furnace fuel was firmly established in 1859, at the Clinton Furnace of Graf Bennett Company. This facility was located across the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh.

Most coke plants in operation today can trace their origins to Europe, where slot ovens were developed beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century. Slot ovens originally evolved for two separate reasons: first, for the collection of the byproducts of the cokemaking process; second, for the manufacture of a suitable quality blast furnace fuel, while utilizing the lower rank European coals. At least in America, slot oven production did not exceed that made in beehive ovens until the early part of the twentieth century.

Evolution of byproduct ovens can be seen to occur in three specific areas: improvements in heating systems; development of machinery; and also in testing and selection of more suitable refractory materials.

 Although the vast majority of plants today make coke in slot ovens, we may have come full circle as an industry. Recent events show that a return to modern beehive ovens may be at hand.

Metallurgical coals utilized annually by the global cokemaking industry currently totals approximately 1.0 billion metric tonnes. Coal accounts for about 20-25% of finished steel costs at an integrated steel works, where raw materials amount to approximately 50% of the steel produced. This amounts to a substantial capital cost spent every year by the mills where the coke plants exist as an integral part of the industry.

At present there is no alternative in sight to completely substitute the coke which is predominantly produced from metallurgical coals. A careful selection of the most suitable, economical and dependable coal source, therefore, is the number one priority at each coke plant. This paper briefly describes the different methods of extraction of coal, equipment used to achieve the maximum productivity, capital expenditures required to run a mine safely, economically and competitively in the present market conditions. Also included in this paper, are the general guidelines for a coke plant operator in selection of coal source, the pros and cons of multi/mono seam mines, multi/mono coal products and the dependability of these product

Fundamentals of Coal and Coke Characterization
Louis Giroux, CANMET Energy

 This lecture discusses chemical, microscopic and thermal rheological properties of coals and how these relate to those of resulting cokes.  Also, techniques for examining coal properties developed by different laboratories will be introduced and compared.

Chemically, the rank of a coal is measured by its carbon or volatile matter content.  Microscopically, coal rank is determined by the amount of polarized light reflected by its vitrinite macerals.  The different organic particles (macerals) present in coal are classified as reactive or inert for coking purposes.  Thermal rheological properties including dilatation, fluidity, FSI, caking index G, Sapozhnikov X/Y provide useful information on coal to coke transformation.  Under the microscope, coke reveals textures/carbon forms that are derived from coal's reactive and inert components during coking.

 Chemical, microscopic and thermal rheological parameters are often used individually or in combination to understand carbonization behaviour and coke properties of coals and blends.

Design of Coal Blends for Required Coke Properties
Hardarshan S. Valia, Coal Science, Inc.

In the coming years, more rigid coke quality requirements will be placed on coke producers as ironmakers try to increase productivity and reduce costs by reducing the coke rate and by increasing the pulverized coal injection rate. Thus, the challenge to a coke producer will be in designing a coal blend that on carbonization would consistently produce a high quality-low cost coke with safe oven pushing performance. With this in mind, this lecture is designed to cover the coal design efforts from the following categories: (a) coal blend design to satisfy coke physical properties; (b) coal blend design to satisfy coke chemical properties; (c) coal blend design to satisfy coke oven pushing performance; (d) coal blend design to satisfy maximum usage of low value carbon material; (e) economic evaluation of the designed blend; and, (f) assurance of high quality coal shipment.

 Coke Oven Game and Cokemaking Rules of Thumb
Ted Todoschuk, ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.

 A "Coke Oven Game" has been developed in order to provide a forum within which the participants will gain an understanding of some of the concepts being presented and an appreciation of the complexities involved in the manufacturing of coke.

 A two-part exercise has been developed to apply the lecturer’s material being presented.  In a team environment, the participants will deal with blend design and battery operation issues.

 Blend Design

Using a standard set of coking conditions, participants will select coals to formulate a blend that will minimize coal purchase cost while maintaining the required coke quality for the Blast Furnace.

Battery Operation

Participants will have to redesign the blend to compensate for changes in coal availability, coal moisture and coking time.  The impact of these changes on cokemaking costs, coke quality and ironmaking operation will be addressed.

Rules of thumb will be outlined relating coal selection and battery operation to product quality and operational costs.

Coke in the Blast Furnace
Joe Poveromo, Raw Materials & Ironmaking

The blast furnace is a counter current packed bed chemical reactor in which ferrous and coke materials descend and are preheated by hot gases rising from the raceway combustion zone in front of the tuyeres where coke and injectants undergo combustion reactions with oxygen from the hot blast. The hot reducing gases rising from the raceway zone pass through an active coke zone, through the coke slits in the cohesive zone and flow upward through layers of ore and coke. The ferrous and flux materials melt off the cohesive layers at the inner edge, drip downward through the active coke zone and collect in the hearth as hot metal and slag. Thus, below the inner edge of the cohesive zone, coke is the only solid material in the furnace.

Therefore, coke plays three roles in the furnace:

  • A fuel providing the energy required for endothermic chemical reactions and for melting of iron and slag.
  • A reductant by providing reducing gases for iron oxide reduction.
  • A permeable grid providing for passage of liquids and gasses in the furnace, particularly in the lower part of the furnace.

In this lecture we will outline the key physical and chemical aspects of the blast furnace process with emphasis on the role played by coke. The impact of coke chemistry: ash, sulfur, VM, alkalis, P, and coke moisture on the process will be outlined. The effects of coke physical properties: stability, sizing, and shape, on permeability and gas distribution, will be presented, along with the impact of coke metallurgical properties: coke strength after reaction and reactivity.  The importance of consistent coke properties will be emphasized.

Theory of Carbonization
Ted Todoschuk, ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Today BF operations are characterized by low coke rates, high CSR values, selective coke size distribution, high pulverized coal/natural gas/oil injection and a low total fuel consumption. The coke quality requirements are stringent. BF coke is produced in either slot-type or beehive ovens where the coal is carbonized in vertical layers with indirect heat transfer, and horizontal layers with direct heat transfer, respectively.

Charging coal is a blend of several components, each with volatiles of approximately 16 to 35% d.a.b. The softening and swelling properties (fluidity, swelling, dilatometer data) ascertain the coke quality. The individual softening properties in a blend must be overlapping. Mineral content influences CO2 resistance and coke deterioration in the blast furnace.

The transition from coal to semi coke - thermal decomposition - occurs in the plastic layer (about 400 to 550°C), characterized by softening, devolatilization and swelling of the viscous coal mass, formation of clusters or mosaics, and finally formation of the porous semi coke structure, the pores caused by gas entrapped in the hardening viscous coal mass.

Decomposed hydrocarbons with high softening temperatures are infiltrated into the "cold" side of the plastic layer and also transported onto the "hot" side of the plastic layer. Micro channels are blocked between the uncarbonized coal particles and in the newly generated semi coke layer ("impregnation"). The gas permeability is reduced, the pressure in the plastic layer increased. Heating wall load may occur.

Decomposed and vaporized hydrocarbons escape via cracks in the coke layer onto the heating wall and from there to the gas free space. A small percentage is transferred into the uncarbonized coal center layer and from there into the gas free space.

Raw gas is cracked on the way through the hot coke; the generated low reactive pyrolytic carbon forms a "coating" inside the pores and protects the coke from CO2 degradation.

The carbonization rate (heating flue temperature) influences the longitudinal and cross-fissuring (Micum 40, IRSID 40, ASTM-Stability) and the cost efficiency. The fissuring starts in the semi coke very near the plastic zone. The final coke temperature dominates the abrasion strength (Micum 10, IRSID 20, ASTM-Hardness, CSR/CRI). Anti-fissuring blend additives are superfine coke breeze and low VM coals. Flue temperatures range from 1250 to 1350°; 1450°C has been experienced in certain cases even under long-term conditions.

 Experimental work has been carried out on shock cooled pilot and full scale oven charges using different coals, wet and preheated, top charged, stamp charged and sandwich charged.

Principles of Coke Oven Design
R.V. Ramani, Retired from Uhde Corporation of America

Market conditions and environmental regulations influence the coke industry and in turn the design features of the modern coke oven battery whether it is the byproduct type, or the non-recovery type. Different heating systems are reviewed especially with regard to their capability of heat distribution in the vertical and horizontal directions and their impact on energy consumption and NOx formation. Criteria for the selection of oven size in relation to cycle time and machinery utilization for both the byproduct type and non-recovery type are presented. Choice of materials of construction and engineering design is discussed as they relate to long service life of the coke battery. Specific design concepts for the oven bracing system, oven doors and jambs, standpipes and collecting mains are introduced. Special attention is given to measures taken to achieve the lowest possible emission levels and to meet the pertinent environmental regulations.

 Non-Recovery Cokemaking Fundamentals and Principles
John Quanci, SunCoke Energy

A survey of the fundamental theory and practice of non-recovery and heat-recovery cokemaking will be covered, including

  • Overall plant design and operation
  • Oven design
  • Coal blending options
  • Coking performance
  • Historical development of technology
  • Downstream environmental performance
  • Comparison to by product recovery coke making

Due to its superior environmental performance, heat recovery cokemaking will be the key component of any future increased coke making capacity in North America.  Other advantages in terms of coke quality, economic performance and coal blend versatility make understanding heat-recovery cokemaking critical as a component of the entire steel-making value stream.

Non-Recovery Cokemaking Case Studies
John Quanci, SunCoke Energy

 A number of case studies of heat-recovery cokemaking will be presented to highlight critical elements from the discussion of the fundamentals, including the integrated steel making energy balance and near-zero venting performance.

Control of Battery Heating
R.V. Ramani, Uhde Corporation of America

An interactive workshop has been developed to apply or gain understanding of the lecturer’s notes on the application of heating principles with linkages to coke plant operation and quality assurance.

The workshop will focus on the learning’s from the lecture to work toward the root cause for a current set of conditions impacting coke quality as noted by the customer.

 Heating Systems

The lecture will outline the various battery designs, their differences and their battery heating control strategies.

Principles of Combustion

Understanding the impact of varying the types of fuel and or the amount of combustion air has on the battery and the efficiency of the conversion of coal to coke.

Heating Control Systems

Defining the key input and output process variables for battery process control.

Heating and Coke Quality

What heating parameters impact; heating rate, finishing temperature and soak time in the transformation of coal to coke. 

Battery Delays

Control strategies to manage heating and maintain the life of the facility during planned and unplanned operational delays.

Introduction to the By-Products Plant
Brian Onishenko, Algoma Steel Inc.

 The By-Products Plant is briefly surveyed to answer the following questions:

  • Why is it there and what does it do?
  • Who are its main suppliers and customers?
  • What are its main products, by-products and services?

The relationship with the By-Products Plant’s main supplier/customer, the Coke Ovens, is explored in some detail.

The primary condensation and cooling steps are reviewed along with a discussion of gas compression. The foundation is laid for subsequent lectures which study, in detail, the processes used to recover specific by-products.

Environmental Issues Facing the Cokemaking Industry into the 21st Century
Andy Sebestyen, Stelco

Today, and for the foreseeable future, the byproduct recovery type coking process will remain the predominant technology used for the production of metallurgical grade coke in North America and around the world. At the same time, environmental aspects of coke production are considered to be some of the most significant environmental issues facing the modern integrated steel works.

Existing regulatory frameworks have already had a profound effect on how coke facilities are operated and managed. However, a new generation of environmental issues such as climate change, strengthened links between emissions and human health effects, increased public awareness and access to plant environmental performance information will continue to exert influence on the industry. This lecture and accompanying paper will discuss international regulations, the environmental issues facing cokemakers and emission controls (technical and procedural) to reduce emissions to both air and water.

Removal of Sulphur and Ammonia from Coke Oven Gas
Carter Dumont, Stelco

Removal of ammonia from COG is primarily necessary to control the corrosion of the byproduct equipment, the formation of ammonium salt-based deposits in COG piping, etc. The removal of hydrogen sulfide remains an environmental issue. At the first and second Cokemaking Courses, we discussed general technologies, underlying chemistry, and typical applications. This paper focuses on the operation and maintenance of the existing ammonia and sulfur removal processes as used in the cokemaking industry, particularly in view of operating performance experience, maintenance, and operating costs. Several arguments are presented for streamlining and simplification of traditional processing schemes aimed at reducing the overall operating cost. This paper also draws attention to a few small, but quite interesting innovations available for both ammonia removal and processing and sulfur removal and processing.

Effects of Gas Quality on Operations
Greg Elder, Consultant

The quality of coke oven gas generated within the coking chamber is reviewed from the standpoint of its impact on the operation of the downstream coal chemicals plant. The resultant gas quality is then studied relative to the consumers at the coke plant and elsewhere within the steelworks. Effects considered include impact on tar quality, corrosion and sludge formation in the light oil recovery area, and corrosion and deposition throughout the gas handling system. Strategies to control adverse effects are considered.

Tar and Light Oil Recovery
Carter Dumont, Stelco

This session will discuss the primary chemical compounds which are driven off during the coking of coal. The chemical and physical characteristics of coke oven gas, light oils, and tar, especially the properties of each that are desirable to customers, are discussed. Some simple tests for these properties will be listed. The methods of separating these chemicals, and common vessel designs including box and conical tar decanters, tar centrifuges, tar dehydrators, light oil absorption and distillation plants, and cryogenic processes. Commercial aspects including typical costs of operation of a light oil plant vs. value of recovered light oil. Operation with no light oil recovery but wash oil final cooler or naphthalene scrubbers will be presented.

 Coke Oven Energy Balance and Recovery
John Busser, Hatch

The coking process is energy intensive as it involves the heating of coal to coking temperatures, with the end product being red hot coke. During the heating process the volatile matter in the coal is driven off as raw coke oven gas. The treatment of the raw coke oven gas in byproduct recovery coke ovens is energy intensive as well, since it involves the pumping and cleaning of the gas stream to remove individual byproduct components. The combustion of the volatile matter in heat recovery coke ovens can provide significant power generation.  The coking coal provides the raw material to the coking process, and indirectly provides nearly all process energy requirements.

The operation of byproduct and heat recovery coke ovens in producing coke and recovering the volatile matter generated either as byproducts or as recovered energy will be reviewed from an energy perspective, and opportunities for change and improvement will be discussed. Steady state heat and mass balances of the process will be outlined as well as the impact of the coke oven operation on the plant energy balance.  The effect of variability in the process will also be discussed with a view to the impact on both coke oven and plant operations.

Machinery Design and Automation
Sven Badura, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions

 Coke oven machines are a special breed, working in a hot and dusty environment and performing varied functions while traveling from oven to oven. Following decades of improvements to the coke battery design especially to meet the ever-increasing demands of pollution control, the coke oven machines have also undergone changes and reap the benefits of advanced control technology. This lecture describes briefly the features of the different machines serving modern batteries and in detail the automation of machines. Discussion on automation includes not only the sequential operation of various functions of individual machines but also how the data collection system on the machines and their evaluation are used in the overall control of the battery operation. The economic and social benefits of automation are reviewed.

 Prolonging Asset Life
Jean-Paul GAILLET, Centre de Pyrolyse de Marienau

 In a context of very unstable coke market, the Steel Companies need some security for coke supply. For this reason, many efforts are done to maintain or to increase the coke production capacities in order to be self sufficient. Besides new capacities under construction, life prolongation of the existing batteries is a key to support the long term blast furnace fuel strategy.

To prolong battery asset life, the coke oven managers defined operation strategies based on safe coal blends, consistent operations, regular quantification of battery ageing, preventive maintenance and skilled operators.


December 6, 2018

Course Information from 2019

This Ironmaking course offers a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth view of blast furnace theory, operation, and best practices.

Lectures are given by acknowledged experts in their fields coming from diversified backgrounds and global experience. It is an invaluable course for managers, operators, engineers, researchers, or anyone involved in supplying equipment, materials or raw materials to the ironmaking industry.

There is a broad range of topics covered, ranging from blast furnace design, reactions, day-to-day operation, operation during challenging conditions, campaign extension strategies, safety aspects, and many more. In addition to the lectures, further learning and networking opportunities are gained through open discussions, training exercises/simulations, and a plant tour of a local ironmaking facility.

For more information, contact


  • Introduction to Ironmaking, Jason Entwistle, US Steel Corporation
  • Historical Development and Principles of the Iron Blast Furnace, Johan van Ikelen, van Ikelen BF consult
  • Blast Furnace Reactions, Bob Nightingale (Retiree), University of Wollongong and Bluescope Steel
  • Fundamental Principles Applied to Blast Furnace Safety, Shawn Tilbury, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • Fundamental Principles Applied to Blast Furnace Environment, Fred Post, Algoma Steel Inc.
  • Blast Furnace Energy Balance and Recovery: Rules of Thumb, John Busser and Mitren Sukhram, Hatch
  • Blast Furnace Design I, Dave Berdusco, Paul Wurth Inc.
  • Blast Furnace Design II, Guilherme Guidugli, Primetals Technologies USA LLC
  • Blast Furnace Design III, Campaign Extension, Salustiano Pinto, Gerdau
  • Ironmaking Refractories, Floris van Laar, Allied Mineral Technical Services, Inc.
  • Iron-Bearing Burden Materials, Joe Poveromo, Raw Materials & Ironmaking Global Consulting
  • Blast Furnace Control - Measurement Data and Strategy, Bob Nightingale (Retiree), University of Wollongong and Bluescope Steel
  • Maintenance Reliability Strategies in an Ironmaking Facility, Johan van Ikelen, van Ikelen BF consult
  • Coke Production for Blast Furnace Ironmaking, Ka Wing Ng, Natural Resources Canada
  • Day-to-Day Blast Furnace Operation, Art Cheng, Cheng Technical Services LLC
  • Challenging Blast Furnace Operations, Fred Rorick, Rorick Inc.
  • Burden Distribution and Aerodynamics, Joseph Morey, US Steel Corporation
  • Ironmaking/Steelmaking Interface, Mike Pomeroy, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • Fuel Injection in the Blast Furnace, Donald Zuke, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
  • Casthouse Practice and Blast Furnace Casthouse Rebuild, Floris VanLaar, Allied Minerals
  • Ironmaking in Western Europe, Jan van de Stel, Tata Steel
  • Chinese Blast Furnace Practice, Dennis Lu, ArcelorMittal Global Research & Development
  • Future Trends in Ironmaking, Mitren Sukhram and Ian Cameron, Hatch Ltd.
  • Blast Furnace Modelling and Visualization, Chenn Q. Zhou, Purdue University Northwest
  • Transitioning the Iron and Steel Industry Towards a Low-carbon Future: Climate Change Policies and Approaches, Katie Chan, Stelco


The course will be held at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  A block of rooms has been reserved for participants at a rate of $119 CAD per night.  Call +1 905-383-7772 and quote "Blast Furnace Room Block" or reserve online:

Reserve here

Please take note of Travel to Canada: Requirements for COVID-19

Organizing Committee

  • Keith Whitely (Chair), ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • Neslihan Dogan (Secretary), McMaster University
  • John D'Alessio, Stelco
  • Jason Entwistle, U.S. Steel Corporation
  • Mateusz Kus, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • Joe Poveromo, Raw Materials & Ironmaking
  • Aaron Tanninen, Algoma Steel Inc.
  • Donald Zuke, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.