The Economist’s 7th September Climate Issue features the first low-carbon steel pilot plant in Lulea, Sweden that will begin producing green steel. The project, HYBRIT Development, is a government and private enterprise consortium of a steel manufacturer, a state-iron ore producer, and a state-owned power company.
What is unique about this project is the replacement of coking coal with hydrogen. The standard steel making method is by using coking coal – coke to remove oxygen from iron ore. And if manufacturers use renewable energy to produce hydrogen, then the whole steel making process is 100% carbon-free.
Steelmaking accounts between 7% to 9% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. To produce a tonne of steel, steel plants emit two tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The industry needs to cut its emissions to tackle climate change significantly, the article says.
The efforts to decarbonise the steel industry is due to the EU emissions trading scheme, which puts a price on carbon emissions, chipping away some of the manufacturer’s pre-tax profits.
The carbon price would help green steel more competitive and hopefully will make more steelmakers invest in green products, the article says.
To know more about the HYBRIT pilot projects, click on the link below:
The exciting news of a first green steel plant in Sweden reverberates across the globe to Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “NSW will pursue a large-scale hydrogen production as part of its COVID-19 economic recovery efforts and that the federal government would call for expressions of interest in the creation of a regional hydrogen export hub.”
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean already have a couple of ideal venues for hydrogen production areas – New Castle and Port Kembla “with their existing infrastructure and heavy manufacturing economies.” Tony Wood energy program director of Grattan Institute says that Australia should not only embrace hydrogen production but should also commit to funding a green steel project powered and fed by hydrogen, the article says.
Australia’s abundance in iron ore and space for the creation of renewable is a significant advantage over Sweden, according to British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta. His steel company Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia is investing over a billion dollars in equipment to manufacture green steel. The facility will use gas at the start before changing to hydrogen, says Mr Gupta.
Last November, the Australian federal government announced a national hydrogen strategy with energy. The government has already provided significant funding to support hydrogen projects as it sees the potential for the hydrogen industry to create jobs, meet international demands for hydrogen, and result in “billions of dollars in economic growth by 2050,” the article says.
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