ABB examines how to decarbonize steel, highlights global innovation

ABB released a new report last week exploring carbon capture, hydrogen and electrochemistry as pathways to decarbonize primary steel production.

decarbonize steel

It highlights innovative technological developments and approaches from countries such as Brazil, China, India, Sweden and the United States, which are leading the development of fossil-free steel. These include insights from leading steelmakers SSAB, Tata Steel and Aperam, as well as experts from the American Institute of Steel Technology and ABB.

ABB’s new report ‘What does the path to fossil-free steel look like?’ ‘How to achieve a sustainable future’ discusses the challenges of decarbonisation, including costs, the complexities of transitioning to low-carbon technologies and access to hydrogen, clean electricity , high-quality iron ore, and fossil-free carbon and lime.

Current steel production is carbon-intensive and energy-intensive, and is listed as one of the six “hard-to-contain” industries. Globally, the steel industry accounts for an estimated 8% of global energy demand and produces 7% to 9% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – the majority of which comes from combustion, according to various sources (including current international organizations) Fossil fuels. Energy Agency (IEA) Steel Technology Roadmap.

In order to meet the standards set by the United Nations’ Paris Climate Agreement and limit the increase in global temperatures to below 1.5°C compared with pre-industrial levels, the steel industry must undergo a fundamental transformation to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions in 2050, especially in the face of global steel demand. Growth of 30% is expected as of the same date.

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The ABB report highlights fossil-free steel innovations in five steel production markets. These include:

Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology (HYBRIT), being trialled in Sweden by steelmaker SSAB, state-owned iron ore miner LKAB and state-owned energy company Vattenfall, aims to harness the region’s high-quality iron to produce steel ore with green hydrogen and fossil-free electricity. Stone LKAB – mines that replace coking coal;
With support from industry association ResponsibleSteel, Aperam, which has interests in stainless steel and agriculture, is using charcoal produced from its 100,000 hectares of FSC-certified forests in Brazil as a renewable alternative to coal-based coke in steelmaking to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. and completely eliminate the use of mined coal;
The HIsarna process of India’s Tata Steel uses powdered raw ore instead of processed ores such as coke, sinter or pellets to produce liquid pig iron. Compared with traditional blast furnaces, emissions can be reduced by up to 20% -Basic oxygen furnace method ( BF-BOF).
The ABB report sets out the actions steelmakers can take now to reduce carbon emissions in the short and medium term, as well as the steps they can take together with industry suppliers and partners to achieve a fossil-free steel future.

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