Lead Forensics

Reducing carbon emissions in the steel industry

Bellona, a non-profit organisation that looks at ways of tackling climate change, has urged the steel industry to reduce carbon emissions through a policy of reducing, replacing and reinventing.

Bellona says that the global iron and steel industry accounts for about 5% of CO2 emissions. Every day on average 1.9 tonnes of CO2 is emitted every day from steel production.

There are two basic ways of making steel, new steel production and recycled steel made from waste steel. Recycled steel is less quality than new steel, and for some applications only new steel can be used.

Bellona has suggested a three-part approach to reducing CO2 emissions in the steel industry which they summarise as: reducing, reinventing and replacing.

Reducing is using less new materials. This can be done by recycling more steel or making equipment stronger so that it lasts longer before needing replacing.

Replacing is finding sustainable alternatives to steel. This is not always easy. For example, heavy duty warehouse trolleys are made from tubular steel because it is lightweight and very strong. There needs to be considerable research to find a substitute material that is both light and strong enough to carry heavy loads.

Reinventing is finding ways to make steel without emitting carbon. This can be done through carbon capture technology and the use of green energies to power the steel plants

Though there is a problem of large CO2 emissions in steel production, Bellona shows that are viable solutions.

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