Green Steel

Steeling for a Better Future: Is ‘Green Steel’ the Way forward?

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If we look around us—from buildings to bridges, vehicles to ships, domestic cutlery to weapons—all have one element in common i.e. steel—one of the most widely used metals around the world. However, the way steel is manufactured—using coal—is augmenting the climate change threat by multiple folds.

According to research, almost two tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is emitted for every ton of steel produced, which accounts for almost 7% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. With the increasing emissions, the steel sector is getting under close scrutiny and is seeking options to reduce carbon emissions. “Green steel” is one such option that is emerging as an effective way to tackle this issue.

Why Green Steel?

The process of steel manufacturing involves extracting oxygen from iron ore to produce pure iron metal. The traditional steelmaking, process is done by using coal or natural gas in a particular process that releases Carbon Dioxide. Meanwhile, fossil fuels can be replaced by hydrogen made from renewable energy sources for the production of green steel

Moreover, the traditional coal-fired blast furnaces used in traditional steel making can be replaced by electric arc furnaces, which will produce cleaner emissions. Considering the continuous depletion of non-renewable energy sources, green steel is gaining attention as a great alternative to traditional steel.

Efforts towards Green Steel Adoption

SSAB, a metal-making company was the first in the world to produce the first fossil-fuel-free steel in a trial process in August 2021. The steel was made for Volvo Group to use for truck manufacturing. This first-ever green steel was produced using HYBRIT (Hydrocarbon Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) which uses electricity from renewable sources to produce clean-burning gas.

Since then, the efforts towards green steel adoption have been constantly on a rise. Recently, the Ontario government in Canada announced funding of nearly $2 billion to convert Ontario’s steel plants to using lower-carbon sources of energy. With this move, the government is aiming for a significant reduction in the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Green Steel Transition 

Given the increasing buzz around green steel and its advantages, it is safe to say that the transition from traditional steel to green steel is around the corner. However, the transition will not happen overnight. There are several challenges such as the availability of cheap hydrogen on a large scale, renewable electricity, carbon capture, and storage technologies as well as significant investment from the private sector. If countries and reinforcing steel manufacturers could find ways to navigate these challenges, there is no doubt that the steel industry will helm the green manufacturing revolution in the long run!

Also Read: ALARMING: These Effects of Climate Change could be Devastating in 2022



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