Lead Forensics

Ammonia can be used to make greener steel

A new innovative technology is replacing hydrogen with ammonia in the green steel-making process.

A manufacturer of warehouse equipment needs tubular steel to make trolleys, racks, tables and other manual handling and storage equipment. Unfortunately, steel production accounts for around 7% of global carbon emissions, which has prompted steel producers to find ways of making steel with fewer carbon emissions. Most green steel production processes use hydrogen to reduce emissions. However, hydrogen requires low temperatures and high pressure for storage and transport. Low-cost ammonia could overcome the limitations of hydrogen because it has low liquefaction costs and is easy to transport.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute are looking at how to synthesize green ammonia and are testing its use in steel production. However, there are several challenges with using ammonia. It is a toxic substance that raises safety concerns for workers using it. It is usually produced using natural gas, which has high CO2 emissions. The researchers are addressing these concerns by using renewable energy sources to make ammonia and implementing secure storage and handling measures that minimize accident risks.

In Japan, the Green Ammonia Consortium is promoting ammonia as a source of clean energy and is also looking at how it can be used in the steel industry.

Steel is widely used because it is strong, lightweight, and durable. Instead of using steel alternatives, manufacturers that rely on steel are encouraging steel producers to find more environmentally friendly ways to produce this versatile metal.

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