India to decarbonize steel industry to achieve net zero
India, as one of the world’s leading steel producers, is at a pivotal juncture in its journey towards sustainable development. The steel industry plays a vital role in the nation’s economy, contributing to around 2% of its gross domestic product. However, it also accounts for a significant portion of the country’s carbon emissions. With the global emphasis on reducing carbon footprints, India must adopt green technologies in its steel production processes. One such promising solution is green hydrogen. Lets have a look to “How India is planning to decarbonize steel industry to achieve Net Zero.
The Carbon Footprint of India’s Steel Industry
The steel sector in India is a major contributor to the country’s carbon emissions. As per recent data:
- The steel sector contributes to 7 – 10% of India’s total CO2 emissions.
- The steel sector emissions account for 12% of the total CO2 in the country.
- For every tonne of steel produced in India, there’s a significant emission of CO2.
- India’s average carbon emissions intensity of steel in 2022 was 2.55 metric tons of CO2 per ton of crude steel. This was higher than the global average of 1.85 metric tons of CO2 per ton of crude steel. India’s steel sector accounted for 12% of India’s CO2 emissions in 20222.
Power Consumption and Production Methods
The coal-based steel production method, which is prevalent in India, contributes to approximately 86% of emissions. In contrast, Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steelmaking accounts for 14% of emissions. This disparity highlights the urgent need for cleaner production methods.
What are the steps being taken by the Indian government to reduce carbon emissions in the steel industry?
The Indian government is taking several steps to reduce carbon emissions in the steel industry. Here are some of the key initiatives:
Green Steel Roadmap: The Indian government has developed a roadmap towards a green steel economy that identifies five key levers to decarbonize steel: the use of green hydrogen for steel production, the introduction of a more significant share of renewable electricity in captive electricity consumption, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) to decarbonize existing carbon-intensive steel production processes, greater use of scrap to make steel, and increasing energy efficiency across steel production processes.
Promotion of Green Steel: The Ministry of Steel aims to reduce carbon emissions in the steel industry by promoting green steel. The steel industry is a major consumer of energy and resources and produces a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Ministry of Steel has submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for iron and steel in the sector to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to reduce GHG emissions by adopting clean and green technologies.
Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS): CCUS is being considered as an alternative to reduce carbon emissions in the steel industry. CCUS technology can reduce emissions from existing carbon-intensive steel production processes. If CCUS is installed in plants that produce hydrogen using natural gas, the resulting “blue hydrogen” could also reduce total emissions.
Fuel Change: The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) recommends a fuel change in the case of BF-BOF, the use of natural gas injection or hydrogen to reduce the use of coal.
Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT): The Ministry of Steel is focusing on reducing carbon emissions in the steel industry through the promotion of energy and resource efficiency, renewable energy, etc. in the short term (FY 2030).
As India aims to expand its steel production, it’s crucial to address the associated environmental challenges. Green hydrogen presents a viable solution to decarbonize the steel industry, aligning with India’s commitment to a sustainable future. By investing in green technologies and promoting research in this area, India can pave the way for a cleaner and more sustainable steel industry.