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The Decarbonization Race

Mar 13, 2023

As more and more industries are pushing to decarbonize their processes - and in the process, help curb emissions for companies’ supply chains - green steel is trending. Automakers, builders and companies in a range of other sectors are under pressure to reduce the embodied carbon in their products. But delivering “green steel” means both changing processes that have been in place for decades, and agreeing on what constitutes zero-carbon or near-zero carbon steel.

In this Energy Minute, co-hosts Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman delve into the push for green steel - what’s driving it, where early demand is coming from, what process changes are making significant cuts in steel’s embodied carbon emissions possible, and the big challenges ahead in taking green steel to sufficient scale.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Emissions from steel making are representing, depending on estimates, between 6-8% of global emissions - a big slice of the planet’s global carbon footprint. The manufacturing of iron and steel is on track to consume 50% of the total remaining carbon budget to meet a 1.5 degree target by 2050.
  2. Using hydrogen instead of coal as a reagent to reduce iron ore to pig iron - the key feedstock in refined steel - is one pathway to create green steel, reducing the CO2 emissions compared to the equivalent process in a traditional blast furnace.
  3. Sweden’s H2 Green Steel is looking to cut emissions from its production of green steel by 95% through the use of green hydrogen as a reagent, compared to coal in traditional steel making. They plan to source the electricity required for hydrogen production (via electrolysis) and plant operations from nearby renewable sources, including hydropower from the Lule river and wind farms in the region.