Steel making is known as one of the most environmentally hazardous industries in the world. However, several efforts are being taken to curb carbon emissions caused during the steel manufacturing process. In other words, green steel manufacturing means a process of making steel with greener technologies that emit considerably lower amounts of carbon. Here are a few key factors of green steel manufacturing.
Hydrogen-based process uses hydrogen or electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen. When hydrogen on burnt, it does not emit carbon and hence it is one of the ways of greening traditional blast furnaces that use carbon-based fuels.
Electric blast furnace and renewable energy
Another option for a traditional blast furnace is an electric arc furnace. In fact, electric arc furnaces are now gradually replacing traditional ones. However, the energy sources are not always renewables. Therefore, the use of renewable energy will help steel makers have greener steel manufacturing processes.
Carbon capture storage (CCS)
CCS is one of the key factors in using green practices for steel making. With this method, companies capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced during steel production. This method prevents carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Steel can 100% be recycled. Therefore, the use of recycled steel automatically reduces demand for virgin steel production. In turn, it minimises the impact on the environment. For example, using scrap steel minimises iron ore extraction minimising the adverse impact on the environment.
Some of the other ways of reducing carbon emissions in the steel production process include sustainable sourcing, improving efficiency in the production process and innovation greener technologies.
Is green steel production expensive?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. It takes humongous investment to change manufacturing technologies. Moreover, setting up a renewable energy plant also costs investment worth billions of dollars. However, considering the rapid climate change and its impact on the environment, adopting greener steel production processes is the need of the hour.
Alternatively, the non-adoption of green technologies can have an economic impact on steel businesses in future. For example, the EU region is in the process of implementing a carbon tax on a few energy-intensive products including steel. Meaning, that companies exporting steel to Europe will have to pay taxes on the amount of carbon emitted during the production process.
Also read: How to reduce the carbon footprint of steel?