Is steel environmentally friendly?

Tubular steel is used to make warehouse equipment as it is lightweight and strong. However, many people wonder whether it is also environmentally friendly. In the following sections, we’ll explore this.

Recycling

Steel is easily recycled and should not be thrown into landfills. When equipment is worn and unsuitable for use, the steel can be extracted and used again. British Steel uses 25% to 30% recycled materials when making new steel.

Carbon emissions

Steel production requires a lot of energy. Blast furnaces are heated to 1,000°C and loaded with minerals, coke and lime to remove oxygen molecules from iron ore. If the energy source used comes from fossil fuels, a high amount of carbon is emitted, and this is harmful to the environment. The world’s biggest steelmakers are developing technologies that reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking. These include carbon capture, so that the carbon is not emitted in the air, and greener energy sources, including hydrogen, wind and solar.

The steel industry produces around two billion tonnes of steel a year. The industry recognises that satisfying the world demand for steel in an environmentally friendly way is a massive task, but industry experts have predicted that by 2050, all steel will be made without carbon emissions.

It will be expensive to transform steel production to a zero-carbon status. Europe’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, has estimated that eliminating greenhouse gases in European steel production will cost between 15 billion to 40 billion euros. This will likely mean that steel will be more expensive in the future, but for many, this is a cost worth paying if it helps reduce global warming.

Waste reduction

Steelmaking uses a lot of raw materials, such as iron ore and coal. Steelmakers are looking at how to minimise waste materials. Some waste can be used in other processes. For example, steelmaking slag is a valuable material used in concrete. Some by-products of steelmaking, including oily residues and water, can be used again in the process.

Transportation

Diesel fuel vehicles are typically used to deliver steel to equipment manufacturers, and to transport equipment to end-users. However, diesel engines are not very environmentally friendly, as they have high carbon emissions The future of the haulage industry is electric. Tesla and other manufacturers are developing electric trucks to haul goods around the country.

Is steel environmentally friendly?

Steel is not 100% environmentally friendly yet, but new technologies promise that zero-carbon or green steel will be normal in the future. Steely Products was a pioneer in using steel to make storage and handling equipment at a time when much equipment was made from plastic, which is much worse for the environment than steel.
At Steely Products, we believe in making equipment that is designed to last. Tubular steel is a durable material. Our customers can expect to use our equipment for many years, and when it comes to the end of its life, the steel can be recycled and made into more useful products.

If you’d like to talk to us about our equipment, call us or use the handy contact form below.

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    Posted by Derek
    19th June 2021
    Metalworking

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