On the pulse of green transformation
In 2023, March 8th will once again mark the annual International Women's Day, and closely follows this year’s International Engineers Week with the motto “Creating Future”. Reason enough to introduce our female talents and engineers at thyssenkrupp. After all, they are the ones who shape the world of tomorrow every day. What do engineers do, and how do you become an engineer? Janaina Solvelino Brum, reduction metallurgy engineer at thyssenkrupp Steel, explains.
Fascination blast furnace
When Janaina started her engineering studies in Ouro Preto, Brazil, she had never seen a blast furnace before. “I always wanted to be an engineer,” the 37-year-old says. “However, the focus was not clear to me.” It was fortunate, she says, that she chose her current field of metallurgy. “I really like the atmosphere here in industry and production, and I think it's nice to work in Duisburg, Europe's largest steel location.”
After training as an industrial mechanic and completing her bachelor's degree, the Brazilian native was drawn to the Ruhr region to study for a master's degree with a focus on metallurgy and forming technology, and after graduating in 2013 she eventually joined thyssenkrupp Steel at the Competence Center Metallurgy. Janaina can still remember her first visit to a steel company as a student: “I remember very clearly what my first tour was like. I was totally fascinated when I saw the blast furnace”, she recalls. “It was impressive to see what a dynamic process steel production is.”
Probably the most exciting job of our time
Today, Janaina is accompanying precisely this steel production into a new era and is playing a very specific role in the green transformation of the steel industry every day. “As a reduction metallurgy engineer, I deal with the quality assessment of raw materials and feedstocks for pig iron production as well as the optimization of use in the production process,” explains Janaina. As part of thyssenkrupp Steel's 20-30 strategy and the construction of the first direct reduction plant for the production of pig iron using hydrogen instead of coal, Janaina and her colleagues will face many new and challenging tasks in the coming years.
“Currently, I'm involved in a project to study sintering phases,” explains the engineer. “It's a great opportunity to be directly involved in the transformation of this industry and an exciting time to be working at thyssenkrupp Steel,” says Janaina happily.
The path to green steel
With the green transformation of the steel industry, Janaina's area of expertise and day-to-day work is also in constant change. “For climate-neutral steel production, traditional pig iron production must be completely transformed,” says the engineer. “The metallurgy area in particular faces a very big and sustainable challenge.” Following the first tests on the use of hydrogen in ongoing blast furnace operations in 2020 and the first CO2-reduced products such as bluemint® Steel, thyssenkrupp Steel recently took the next decisive step toward green steel by awarding a billion-dollar contract to launch one of the world's largest industrial decarbonization projects.
“In the coming years we will focus completely on this transformation and adapt the quality assessment of raw materials and feedstocks and the optimization of use in the production process for the direct reduction plant, which has different quality requirements compared with the blast furnace,” explains Janaina.
The new plant is scheduled for completion as early as 2026 and will save 3.5 million tons of CO2 emissions a year at the Duisburg site. The goal is to produce climate-neutral steel by 2045 at the latest. For Janaina, this is one of the reasons why she values working at thyssenkrupp Steel so much.
“I enjoy my work every day!”
“thyssenkrupp Steel stands for innovations in steel and high-quality products for the most demanding applications,” she says. “I think the current conversion for the future production of green premium steel is very good, and thyssenkrupp Steel offers employees many training opportunities along the way.” With the conversion to direct reduction, the company is thus not only assuming responsibility for future generations and reducing its carbon footprint but also creating concrete prospects for Germany as a steel location and its workforce.
For Janaina, a well-rounded overall package! “I enjoy my work every day because it's very dynamic,” she says. “Because I deal with different topics, I can continuously deepen and broaden my knowledge and learn something new.” What she particularly likes about her day-to-day work is how diverse and varied it is and the collaboration with colleagues. Janaina also appreciates the work-life balance at thyssenkrupp Steel: “In Duisburg there has been a company kindergarten, the Stahlsternchen, since 2013. I can take my child to the kindergarten and go to work without worrying because I know my child is very well looked after.”
The path to becoming an engineer
Janaina advises prospective engineers to inform themselves carefully about the upcoming transformation, which will affect not only the steel industry but also other engineering disciplines in the coming years. Which areas and skills will be in demand in the future? In this way, appropriate focal points can be selected during training or studies. “Internships or working student activities are also very important. They make it possible to experience work processes in practice and get a first professional impression,” says Janaina. “That's a big help when it comes to deciding on a specific field.”
If you are interested in a career as an engineer at thyssenkrupp, you can find our open positions - from internships to entry-level jobs - on our career page.