Policy crucial for decarbonization in steelmaking

Posted on 25 November 2021

Despite the self-initiatives by individual steel mills globally to cut down carbon emission in their steelmaking, government policies will be crucial to make sustainable and fundamental changes in decarbonization, speakers agreed on November 22 at the 2021 SEAISI Sustainability & Construction Fortnight e-Event.


India pledged to realize net zero by 2070 at the COP26, and among the efforts to reduce carbon emission in steelmaking are switching coal-fired energy to clean energy, heat capturing in steelmaking and using more PCI for efficiency, Arnab Kumar Hazra, deputy secretary general of Indian Steel Association shared at the panel discussion, and for the clean energy along in state electricity supply, for example, it needs to be driven by the government.

However, similar to China, with the state power supply heavily relying on coal, it will be hard for India to complete the shift to clean energy in 5-10 years even with the government taking the lead, Mysteel Global understood from his remarks.

Yeoh Wee-Jin, secretary general of South East Asia Iron & Steel Institute, agreed, adding that carbon tax in Singapore and Indonesia, green marks in housing designs and construction in Singapore, and carbon tariffs and carbon border tariffs in Europe are all the government measures from top-down to push forward green steel.

He noted that in the ASEAN-6 countries, blast-furnace steelmaking had grown to 38% of the total capacity by 2019 from originally 5%, and by 2026, the proportion may grow further to 66%, which had been the choice of market, so to revert the trend, governments should be the movers.

In China, government has undoubtedly played the decisive role in decarbonization from the very beginning, as it is the government that has set the deadlines for carbon emission peak by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060, and it is the government to bring forward the carbon emission peak for the steel industry to 2025 as it is the second largest carbon emitter after power generation.

And to meet all the nationwide deadlines, Beijing has been busy finalizing the three-year implementation plan too for the steel industry to hit the carbon emission peak by 2025 and it is also busy upgrading the whole country's energy consumption to be less reliant on coal, though it has admitted the necessity and reality that coal will remain a core energy resource for China.

Carbon quota trading system that is up and running for over 1,000 Chinese power houses has been designed and launched by Beijing too, as all the groundwork including qualification checks of the power houses in the trading, the appropriate quota for each power powers has all been carried out or led by the related governing bodies, Mysteel Global noted.

This has not been the first time for the Chinese government to drive the upgrading in its steel industry, as along the past 20 years of the industrial development, related governing bodies have been behind all the major happenings such as switching from electric arc furnaces to blast furnaces, increasing flat steel proportion in overall steel production, expanding iron and steelmaking capacities, dismantling excess and outdated capacity to deal with overcapacity, and imposing winter restrictions to tackle air pollution.

Source : Mysteel Global