Coal-fired steel plants are one of the largest industrial sources of CO2 pollution. Companies that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint are exploring the use of low-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen, coal gasification, or electricity to produce steel. (Green Steel)
Steel is the most widely utilized metal in practically everything, including household appliances, washing machines, ships, machinery, and buildings. However, coal-fired blast furnaces, which release significant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, are used to produce around 75% of the steel produced worldwide.
Governments and businesses are looking at sustainable manufacturing methods across industries to decrease carbon emissions as climate change threatens the entire world, with the steel industry receiving a lot of attention.
The mining company Vedanta, founded by billionaire Anil Agarwal, teamed up with IIT-Bombay to develop technology for creating green steel using hydrogen to drastically reduce carbon footprint.
Vedanta is not the only business to follow the green route; several metal firms from various industries and regions, both locally and globally, have been developing plans to decarbonize their operations.
What is Green Steel?
Steel production requires power that usually comes from coal-based power plants, but if the power is coming from renewable energy sources, then that steel is known as green steel. So basically green steel is the type of steel that is produced using renewable energy.
In this way, the steel industry help in reducing the pollution from the environment.
Why do we need Green Steel?
The steel industry currently uses the most energy and resources intensively of any industrial sector. The steel industry is one of the biggest emitters of CO2. Seeing the aggressive expansion plan of the steel, if steelmakers will not adopt green steel manufacturing then it will be very tough to control carbon emissions.
In India, the iron ore and steel business contributes 12 percent of all CO2 emissions, compared to the global average of 8 percent.
With such high emissions, governments and investors are increasing pressure on steel manufacturers in India and around the world to decrease their carbon footprint from an environmental and economic standpoint.
To meet its obligations under the climate change agreements established at the Summit of the Parties (COP) conference, the Indian steel industry must significantly cut its emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
Global status of green steel projects
By committing to more carbon-neutral ways of making steel, some major international players have acted strongly to combat climate change. Mercedes-Benz purchased shares in H2 Green Steel, and BMW signed a contract for low-CO2 steel supplies with the company. For the manufacture of automobiles, Salzgitterag provides green flat steel in a distinctive range of diameters and grades.
In addition to a new hybrid electric arc furnace, ArcelorMittal Sestao (Spain) wants to build a green hydrogen direct reduction iron facility near Gijon. Volvo receives the first fossil-free steel produced globally by SSAB’S in Sweden. It also sends Mercedes Benz steel that is free of fossil fuels. Thyssenkrupp Steel and Bluemint Steel have introduced steel with a designated low Co2 intensity.
What Indian steelmakers are doing with green steel?
Indian businesses are not an exception to the focus on green steel solutions among steelmakers worldwide. Even though their activities aren’t as obvious as those of the major international actors, they have nonetheless expressed an intention supported by a financial commitment.
The Odisha factory of Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) aims to become the biggest and greenest building in the world. To create steel utilizing clean coal technologies, the business claims to be the first steelmaker in the world to construct a coal gasification system.
To achieve its goal of eradicating CO2 emissions by the year 2050, a Tata Steel subsidiary in the Netherlands has introduced Zeremis Carbon, a green steel solution that promises a 30% decrease in CO2 intensity. The business has pledged to move to environmentally friendly hydrogen-based steelmaking. The business has pledged to move to environmentally friendly hydrogen-based steelmaking. With the ultimate goal of eradicating CO2 emissions by 2050, it seeks to lower CO2 emissions by at least 30% by 2030 and to emit 75% less CO2 by roughly 2035.
JSW Steel has set aside Rs 10,000 crore for further green initiatives and expanding the use of renewable energy to replace thermal electricity. Including a zero liquid discharge system at its Hazira steel plant in Gujarat, ArcelorMittal-Nippon Steel India, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel, has committed Rs 273 crore for different environmental efforts.
Roadblocks to green steel production
Green steel is the future of carbon footprint reduction. It cannot possibly be fixed easily. If numerous claims, experts, and businesses are to be accepted, green steel won’t be available for many decades.
“Green steel is far-fetched until natural gas supply and hydrogen gas become commercially viable,” said Aruna Sharma, a former secretary of state for steel. According to her, since all the investments are still being made, at least one generation will continue to produce steel using a coking coal base, but CO2 capture and disposal of slag is still active and will be a method to reduce carbon emissions.
However, Australia-based Bluescope Steel, a producer of flat steel, claims that “the global energy crisis, particularly in Europe, is one of the primary drags on green steel advancements” since “green steel uses much more electricity than traditional steelmaking methods.”
An unstable energy market is beginning to deplete the manufacturing sector, and if the problem were to persist without being resolved any time soon, it would affect the green steel vision of the majority of businesses worldwide, including those in India.