Steel-making news in 2020, focusing on its decarbonisation

Why is this important?
Steelmaking produces about 7% of global CO2 emissions, and is considered to be one of the toughest high-emitting industries to decarbonise (along with e.g. cement-making). However, within the last two years or so, remarkable steps forward have been made by the industry in Europe towards decarbonisation, such as towards fossil-free steel and more and better recycling using EAFs. The changes planned now have momentum.
From the steel industry statements below, you will see that steel firms have committed to significant reductions in carbon emissions this decade in Europe (3+ examples: 25%, 30%, 30%) and to zero or net zero before or by 2050.
And several firms plan to produce fossil-free steel from iron ore on a commercial scale in 2025 or 2026.
[unfortunately I’ve lost the name of who posted this infographic to give credit]

steel hydrogen

This focuses mainly on Europe & UK. I recommend also looking at tweets by Valentin Vogl of Lund University who researches into the decarbonisation of steel-making especially by the use of hydrogen instead of coking coal. Colin Richardson’s tweets are useful for latest insights into the steel market (he is editor Argus Media). I have also found useful tweets by Stefan Zaitschenko – former steel industry engineer.

For a background explanation on why and how steel-making can and must be decarbonised see this pdf:


NB: For NEWS section scroll down     (This section is less date-specific)

22jun20 5-page Report by the MPI – the Materials Processing Institute (‘UKs centre for innovation in the steel and metals industry’) on the feasibility and timeline for decarbonisation of the steel-making industry (dated 11june20) put online by SLACCtt – who commissioned the report. Report sub-titles: 1. FEASIBILITY FOR DISPLACEMENT OF BLAST FURNACE STEEL WITH SCRAP STEEL, 2. ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR STEEL PRODUCTION, 3. FUTURE MARKET DEMAND, 4. SOCIETAL NEED FOR STEEL IN THE UK , GENERAL COMMENTS RELATING TO THE MARKET.

EU’s need for steel decarbonisation: Ember’s April 2020 report:
Europe’s coal power collapse exposes steel plants as Europe’s biggest emitters – We are well on the way to coal-free electricity; now we need to start on coal-free steel. Dave Jones & Chris Rosslowe.

June 2020 World Steel in Figures (pdf) out now from World Steel Association (WSA).

19may20 Technical Road Map – Steel Industry – This report explores different possible trajectories of technological developments in the primary production of steel. Read the full report (pdf) Mistra Carbon Exit is financed by Mistra, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research.

17mar20 Decarbonisation of industrial heat: The iron and steel sector by Julian Somers EEIP – relates to the EU.

I have yet to read:
11feb20 CREDS funds new £1.26M study to explore decarbonising the steel industry
Scientists at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield have secured £1.26M funding from CREDS to investigate ways the UK steel industry can be decarbonised within 30 years.
Steel manufacturing is a high carbon process. According to figures from the World Steel Association, every tonne that is manufactured creates 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the gas linked to climate change. With the UK legally committed to be a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2050, the industry faces an uncertain future unless it ends its dependence on carbon.
The interdisciplinary team from the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield will work to develop approaches that blend technology and policy with the aim of eliminating the industry’s dependence on fossil fuels. …     CREDS is Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions.


May 2019 Steel Arising (pdf) Professor Julian Allwood and his Use Less group show in this report how UK’s steel industry can decarbonise e.g. by upcycling the recycling of scrap steel instead of exporting it, and using less steel.

22jun20 Stranded Assets vs Active Change: Coal vs Hydrogen in Steel Production – concise summary by SLACCtt’s barrister Estelle Dehon or her findings on research into this topic.

June/July Steel without coal (pdf) I submitted this to the Westmorland Gazette to counter the numerous letters they print that insist that steel cannot be made without coal. WG printed it in the 9july20 issue.


NEWS   —–↓—–↓—–↓—–↓—–↓

In reverse chronological order (most recent at top).

14sep20 Valentin Vogl @valenvogl tweets: Is the blast furnace on its way out? The @IEA Sustainable Development Scenario suggests that blast furnaces could supply as little as 15% of total primary steel production in 2070, much overtaken by direct reduction and smelting reduction. BF Blast Furnace future IEA SD Scenario

14sep20 Floating wind farms will help country to hit net-zero carbon emissions target Francis Elliott, Political Editor,The Times.
Boris Johnson is preparing to back floating wind turbines and greener steel plants to help Britain to meet its carbon reduction targets.
The emerging technologies are the frontrunners as Mr Johnson looks for emission-cutting projects that deliver jobs and investment to “red wall” seats. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, meanwhile, is ready to give firms a full tax break on capital investment in the budget in a move that would help to foster cleaner technology.
Mr Johnson is to deliver a speech setting out how the UK will reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Whitehall departments were given until last Friday to submit proposals to be included in the address. He must decide whether to bring forward to 2030 a ban on new petrol …

[Photo caption: Tata has requested taxpayers’ money to modernise the furnaces at its Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales MATT CARDY]
Ministers have drafted in advisers to map out a future for the steel industry as it is battered by the pandemic.
Investment bank Credit Suisse has been hired by the Treasury to advise on talks with Tata Steel, which owns the vast Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales. Minsters have also drafted in the consultancy McKinsey to draw up a blueprint for the wider steel industry, according to Sky News.
Tata Steel has been pushing for hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money from the government’s Project Birch fund to convert Port Talbot from blast furnaces to electric-arc furnaces, which are powered by electricity rather than coal. In return, ministers have been offered a stake in the plant.The future of the steel industry …

5sep20 Bankers called in to thrash out Tata Steel bailout The government has asked Credit Suisse and McKinsey to help devise a steel industry rescue plan, Sky News learns.  City editor 
The government has parachuted in investment bankers to help thrash out a rescue plan for Britain’s biggest steel producer after months of talks over a deal that could preserve thousands of jobs.
Sky News has learnt that Credit Suisse has been asked by the Treasury to advise on talks with Tata Steel, which owns the giant Port Talbot plant in south Wales.
City sources said this weekend that ministers had also drafted in McKinsey, the management consultants, to draw up a blueprint for the future of the UK’s wider steel industry.
The appointment of Credit Suisse – which banking sources said had agreed to work on a pro bono basis – will end speculation that negotiations between the government and the Indian-owned industrial group had been brought to an end.
Steel sector sources said that Tata Steel was on the verge of presenting a revised proposal to ministers that would involve an injection of substantial funding from taxpayers.
An earlier plea from Tata Steel, revealed by Sky News in July, sought roughly £900m of government cash in exchange for an equity stake of up to 50% in its UK business.
Officials, however, are understood to have balked at the proposal on the basis that the steelmaker’s parent company would have written off an equivalent sum of debt but not commit significant new capital of its own.

The Sunday Times reported in July that Tata Steel was exploring plans to close its two blast furnaces at Port Talbot and replace them with cleaner electric arc furnaces.

The Treasury declined to comment on Saturday, while Tata Steel Europe said: “We are in active discussions with the UK government on several options for the future of our UK operations, including potential co-operation and participation from the government to create a sustainable decarbonised footprint for the future.

1sep20 #climateneutral: National hydrogen strategy – not a journey to tackle alone – more from Thyssenkrupp re its plan below.

31aug20 Valentin Vogl @valenvogl tweets EU producers are racing to become first with “green” #steel on the market. @thyssenkrupp will produce 0.4 million tonnes from 2025, a year earlier than prev. announced market entry by @hybrit_project
is on its way out of the European steel sector
at the same 
@hybrit_project will produce 1 ton per hour of #fossilfree iron from today onwards (not commercial production though)
Sweden’s prime minister frames the opening of the pilot plant it as a #greenrecovery measure
[Valentin Vogl’s twitter
Thread here ] Linked to this piece re Thyssenkrupp:

28aug20 Thyssenkrupp presents plan for carbon neutral steel plant CONTRIBUTOR DUISBURG, Germany, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Thyssenkrupp TKAG.DE unveiled plans on Friday to build a factory that will be able to produce carbon neutral steel by using hydrogen generated via renewables instead of coal.
Germany’s largest steelmaker said it plans to complete most of the plant by 2025, enabling it to produce 400,000 tonnes of so-called green steel a year. By 2030, annual production is expected to rise to 3 million tonnes.
European industry already uses millions of tonnes of hydrogen each year but it is mostly produced from coal or natural gas, which is much cheaper than “green” hydrogen extracted from water using renewable energy.
Germany aims to become a pioneer in hydrogen technology and plans up to 5 gigawatts (GW) of hydrogen capacity by 2030, with another 5 GW to be installed by 2040 at the latest. It has earmarked 9 billion euros ($11 billion) in investment to help achieve its goals. … … … …
Thyssenkrupp has pledged to cut emissions by 30% by 2030 in the production of steel, one of the most polluting industrial activities, and to be CO2-neutral by 2050.
In June, the company unveiled a pilot project with RWE RWEG.DE, Germany’s largest power producer and Europe’s No.3 renewables player, to develop green hydrogen production.

31aug20 Sweden Moves Closer to Making Fossil-Fuel-Free Steel By  and in Bloomberg Green.
A Swedish joint venture that hopes to rewrite the rules of steel production took a major step forward on Monday.
Hybrit, an initiative run by steelmaker SSAB AB, iron ore producer LKAB and energy supplier Vattenfall AB, aims to remove fossil fuels from the steelmaking value chain by replacing coking coal with hydrogen and clean energy.
The project is now starting test operations for the production of fossil-free sponge iron — something that SSAB’s chief executive Martin Lindqvist sees as a “milestone” given the industry accounts for 7% of carbon dioxide emissions globally and 10% in Sweden, he said.
The Hybrit project aims to reduce CO2 emissions to 25 kilograms per metric ton of steel from about 1.6 tons by using hydrogen to produce direct reduced iron (DRI) as a feedstock, along with scrap, to make the metal. Electrolyzing water from renewable energy sources will generate the hydrogen. –Grant Sporre, Bloomberg Intelligence
Product launch in a “big, commercial scale” is planned for the first quarter of 2026 and will target “the automotive industry and others,” Lindqvist said in an interview. …

31aug20 Today is a milestone for the history of decarbonisation of steelmaking:
HYBRIT: SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to start up the world’s first pilot plant for fossil-free steel – SSAB
Today, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall are taking a decisive step toward fossil-free steelmaking with the start-up of HYBRIT’s globally unique pilot plant for the production of fossil-free sponge iron. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven started up the plant together with Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB and Magnus Hall, President and CEO of Vattenfall. SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall aim to create a complete value chain for fossil-free steel. …

27aug20 Fossil-free steel project ready for operation By  in H2 View

26aug20 Great news for 31 August!
Media invitation: HYBRIT – the world’s very first pilot plant for fossil-free steel is now to start operation – SSAB
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall will be starting the test operation of HYBRIT’s globally unique pilot plant for the production of fossil-free sponge iron, a decisive step toward fossil-free steel production, on Monday, August 31 in Luleå. This plant represents an important step in the creation of a totally fossil-free value chain for steelmaking. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and Minister of Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin are attending the opening. …
NB this pilot plant must not be confused with the commercial scale demonstration plant plannedfor construction to start in 2023, with the goal of taking the plant into operation in 2025“.

27aug20 More than 100 Aboriginal sacred sites – some dating before the ice age – could be destroyed by mining companies Traditional owners reveal their fears for ancient sites, including rock shelters with painted walls and scar trees – Lorena Allam & Calla Wahlquist.
More than 100 ancient Aboriginal sites in Western Australia – some of which date before the last ice age – could be destroyed by mining companies which have already obtained legal permission to do so.
Guardian Australia has spoken to traditional owners in the iron ore-rich Pilbara who reveal their fears forsacred sites, including rock shelters with painted walls and scar trees.
A federal inquiry was recently established in response to the destruction by Rio Tinto of a 46,000-year-old rock shelter at Juukan Gorge deemed to be of the highest archaeological significance in Australia.
The shelter was destroyed by the iron ore giant in May against the consent of traditional owners, and sparked global outrage, an international shareholder revolt, and cost Rio Tinto its gold chip status for working with Indigenous people in Australia. …

18aug20 Celsa gets approval for UK scrap processing plant – Ronan Murphy, Argus Media.
18aug20 Atlantic coking coal: Prices edge lower Argus Media.

11aug20 The making of green steel in the EU: a policy evaluation for the early commercialization phase ,  &  

5aug20 HYBRIT: Successful trials using fossil-free fuels in the pellet process Trials using fossil-free fuels in LKAB’s pellet plant have produced successful results within the framework of the HYBRIT initiative. The world’s very first fossil-free iron ore pellets are within touching distance. SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall intend to be the first in the world with a value chain for fossil-free steel. …

20 UK bailout talks end for Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel – FT.

20jul20 UK unions to ‘fight’ for blast furnace ironmaking Colin Richardson & Ronan Murphy, Argus Media. “Community Union said moving away from blast furnace production would leave the UK unable to produce “a range of specialist steels”, as well as causing job losses. The government has not asked Tata to move away from blast furnace production, but transitioning to electric arc furnace (EAF) production is the most logical existing technology for reducing carbon emissions.
Historically, blast and basic oxygen furnace steelmaking has produced higher quality grades than EAF-based output. But this has changed in recent years, especially in the US where leading producer Nucor produces a variety of specialist grades for automotive and other industries. Using direct reduced iron enables an EAF to produce the same quality of steel as an integrated plant.
Trade unions in the UK suggest they will not allow the end of blast furnace steel production, after the government asked Tata Steel to reduce its CO2 emissions in return for financial assistance through “project Birch”. …

20jul20 ‘Tata Steel is exploring plans to close its two blast furnaces at Port Talbot and replace them with electric arc furnaces’ – Carbon Brief summary of pieces by The Sunday Times and the FT on this:
“the Sunday Times covers the news that “Tata Steel is exploring plans to close its two blast furnaces at Port Talbot and replace them with electric arc furnaces – risking a showdown with unions at the south Wales steelworks”. It adds: “Tata Steel and sister company Jaguar Land Rover are trying to obtain state support via the Project Birch fund, which was set up to help big, strategically important companies that have been crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the proposal, which is being studied by the business department, the government would invest alongside Tata, with the conversion of the furnaces starting in 2025. Ministers have placed stringent conditions on Project Birch cash, including demanding that it helps achieve its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and that jobs are not lost. However, unions are concerned that the switch could lead to mass unemployment at the site, especially if Port Talbot’s two blast furnaces are not kept open while their electric arc replacements are built. It takes about two years to build an electric arc furnace; they require fewer workers and produce far lower carbon emissions.” The Financial Times also covers the story.”
19jul20 Tata set for fight with unions over ‘green’ steel – Plan to replace blast furnaces at Port Talbot sparks fears over jobs – John Collingridge, The Sunday Times. Tata Steel is exploring plans to close its two blast furnaces at Port Talbot and replace them with electric arc furnaces — risking a showdown with unions at the south Wales steelworks.
The Indian-owned company has put forward the plan to clean up the site’s carbon emissions in an attempt to obtain hundreds of millions of pounds via the government’s Project Birch fund. The vast steelworks, which employs about 3,500 people, is one of just two in Britain capable of turning iron ore and coal into molten iron and steel. Tata Steel and sister company Jaguar Land Rover are trying to obtain state support via the Project Birch fund, which was set up to help big, strategically important companies that have been crippled by the …
FT: Unions fear job losses in Port Talbot electric power plan
20jul20UK unions to ‘fight’ for blast furnace ironmaking Colin Richardson & Ronan Murphy – Argus Media.

18jul20 Toward a Fossil Free Future with HYBRIT: Development of Iron and Steelmaking Technology in Sweden and Finland by Martin Pei 1,*,Markus Petäjäniemi 2,Andreas Regnell 3 and Olle Wijk 4 In MDPI Metals.
1 SSAB AB, 10121 Stockholm, Sweden, 2 LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag), Box 952, 97128 Luleå, Sweden, 3 Vattenfall AB, 16992 Stockholm, Sweden, 4 Hybrit Development AB, 10724 Stockholm, Sweden
The Swedish and Finnish steel industry has a world-leading position in terms of efficient blast furnace operations with low CO2 emissions. This is a result of a successful development work carried out in the 1980s at LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag, mining company) and SSAB (steel company) followed by the closing of sinter plants and transition to 100% pellet operation at all of SSAB’s five blast furnaces. However, to further reduce CO2 emission in iron production, a new breakthrough technology is necessary. In 2016, SSAB teamed up with LKAB and Vattenfall AB (energy company) and launched a project aimed at investigating the feasibility of a hydrogen-based sponge iron production process with fossil-free electricity as the primary energy source: HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology). A prefeasibility study was carried out in 2017, which concluded that the proposed process route is technically feasible and economically attractive for conditions in northern Sweden/Finland. A decision was made in February 2018 to build a pilot plant, and construction started in June 2018, with completion of the plant planned in summer 2020 followed by experimental campaigns the following years. Parallel with the pilot plant activities, a four-year research program was launched from the autumn of 2016 involving several research institutes and universities in Sweden to build knowledge and competence in several subject areas. …

10jul20 This twitter thread by Dr Olle Olsson of SEI shows the remarkable contraction of the Hybrit timeline from the start of 2019 to the present and links to the paper below:

10jul20 Bigger is sometimes better: demonstrating hydrogen steelmaking at scale Olle Olsson & Bjorn Nykvist, SEI working papers.
This working paper examines the demonstration phase of HYBRIT, (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology), a groundbreaking effort to reduce CO2 emissions and decarbonize the steel industry, which accounts for about 7% of global CO2 emissions. HYBRIT seeks to commercialize a fossil fuel-free steel supply chain through use a new technology: a hydrogen direct reduction (HD-R) process. If this ambition is realized, it could become an important piece in the puzzle for achieving global deep decarbonization.
Olsson, O. and Nykvist, B. (2020). Bigger is sometimes better: demonstrating hydrogen steelmaking at scale. SEI working paper. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm.

2jul20 Celsa Steel gets UK’s first Covid-19 corporate bailout Richard Partington, Economics Correspondent, The Guardian. ‘Cardiff-based steel producer rescued with taxpayer-funded loan for struggling firms’. … … Following negotiations with the firm, the lending comes with conditions including a commitment to protect jobs, tackling global heating and restraints on executive pay and bonuses, as well as tax obligations. … … In a letter to the prime minister, the charities and lobby groups said future bailouts should also include conditions for companies to tackle global heating and to prioritise job retention, while also forcing firms to stop paying dividends and tackle pay inequality.

26jun20 Valentin Vogl tweets @valenvogl #CCS in steel is back with  @ArcelorMittal‘s recent announcement. the plan: CCU + CCS + biomass use to produce carbon-neutral steel. as with all #CCU one should pay careful attention to “creative emission accounting”
ArcelorMittal: Climate Action in Europe – Our carbon emissions reduction roadmap: 30% by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2050 (pdf).

24jun20 Tata Steel nears emergency funding deal for Port Talbot plant  But just how strong would be the climate condition? As Ember’s recent report shows: Port Talbot is UK’s biggest point source industrial carbon emitter.

22jun20 5-page Report by the MPI – the Materials Processing Institute (‘UKs centre for innovation in the steel and metals industry’) on the feasibility and timeline for decarbonisation of the steel-making industry (dated 11june20) put online by SLACCtt – who commissioned the report. Report sub-titles: 1. FEASIBILITY FOR DISPLACEMENT OF BLAST FURNACE STEEL WITH SCRAP STEEL, 2. ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR STEEL PRODUCTION, 3. FUTURE MARKET DEMAND, 4. SOCIETAL NEED FOR STEEL IN THE UK , GENERAL COMMENTS RELATING TO THE MARKET.

10jun20 Exclusive: RWE, Thyssenkrupp plan hydrogen production venture Tom KäckenhoffChristoph SteitzVera Eckert
“Germany’s RWE plans to produce hydrogen from renewable energy to supply steelmaker Thyssenkrupp, the two companies told Reuters. …”
Also of high relevance to this post is Germany’s plans for policy and investment into green hydrogen – see 11jun20 entry on my hydrogen page: (this info via Chris Goodall).

8jun20 Companies launch ‘green steel’ project in Norway Kallanish Energy. Celsa Nordic, the Norwegian unit of Spanish steelmaking group Celsa, has signed an agreement with power utility company Statkraft and Mo Industrial Park to develop the use of hydrogen in industrial manufacturing for steel processing.
The project aims to build an electrolysis facility to produce hydrogen, replacing fossil fuels currently used in Celsa’s production process, Kallanish Energy learns.
The end product will be “green steel,” in the form of one of the world’s most low carbon reinforcement steel for use in construction works, the companies said in a statement last week. The initial plan is to study a production unit that can produce 2 to 4 tonnes of hydrogen per day.
A number of projects have been launched in the past few months, proposing the use of hydrogen as a substitute for either blast furnace raw materials or fossil fuels used in steel manufacturing.

1jun20 Olle Olsson @dr_olsson (Senior Research Fellow at SEI. Energy markets/policy & role of business in sustainability transitions. tweets:
Wow! @SSAB_AB, @LKABgroup, and @VattenfallGroup aim to have a full-scale @hybrit_project demonstration plant up and running 2025, with a capacity of producing >1 million tonnes/a of fossil-free steel using hydrogen direct reduction. Links to:

1jun20 SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall one step closer to production of fossil-free steel on an industrial scale – SSAB press release.
“SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall are taking the next important step to be the first in the world with a value chain for fossil-free steel. Within the framework of the HYBRIT initiative, preparations are now under way for the construction of a demonstration plant on an industrial scale, and consultations have  begun for deciding on placement of the plant in Norrbotten, Sweden.
The plan is for construction to start in 2023, with the goal of taking the plant into operation in 2025.  The intention is to be able to demonstrate full-scale production with a capacity of just over one million metric tonnes of iron per year, i.e., 20% of LKAB’s total processing capacity at Malmberget and almost half of the production capacity of SSAB’s blast furnace in Luleå. The goal is to be first in the world to produce fossil-free steel as early as 2026. …”

29may20 ArcelorMittal aims for carbon neutral steelmaking in Europe The Engineer. ArcelorMittal today launched a report outlining how it plans reduce CO2 emissions from its global steelmaking operations and be carbon neutral in Europe by 2050. …

11may20 Is green hydrogen metallurgical coal’s kryptonite? Green steel could mean the end of carbon-based steel production – Anthony Knutson, Principal Analyst, Coal, Wood Mackenzie. Link via Mike Mason.

10may20 Green steel industry could secure jobs future for Australia’s coalmining heartland Report says steel made with renewable hydrogen could become a multibillion-dollar export industry – Adam Morton.
Refers to:
Start with steel: A practical plan to support carbon workers and cut emissions – GRATTAN Institute – by Tony WoodGuy Dundas and James Ha “… This practical plan could be a win-win-win: it would create a new export industry, support carbon workers, and cut emissions.
‘Green steel’ could help make Australia a renewable energy superpower, and represents the best opportunity for exports and job creation in key regions.
Green steel uses hydrogen, produced from renewable energy, to replace metallurgical coal to reduce iron ore to iron metal. Australia’s extensive wind and solar energy resources mean we can make hydrogen, and therefore green steel, more cheaply than countries such as Japan, Korea, and Indonesia. … …”
But Australia’s right-wing government is likely to ignore this report as it is still pushing forwards with fossil fuels as before, and being lobbied to lock-in more fossil fuel infrastructure Greg Jericho Guardian Australia 23may20.  

6may20 COVID-19 impacts – Demand shock for European steel and iron ore S&P Global.

30apr20 Success for Ovako in green steel hydrogen trial Ovako has become the first company to successfully conduct a full-scale trial using hydrogen to heat steel before rolling, an advance that could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the industry. …

25apr20 BBC News: Coronavirus: Tata Steel ‘needs £500m government support’ 

17apr20 E&E News states: “Steel production [in the US] for last week is down a third compared with the same time last year, according to industry figures. And demand for electricity is down, though that has been tempered by stable residential consumption (Energywire, April 6).” It links to

17apr20 Dave Jones @CoalFreeDave tweeted on Really good news! But Austria is nowhere close to coal-free… @Voestalpine‘s Linz coal blast furnace steelworks is Austria’s #1 CO2 emitter, biggest EU steel emitter, and #12 biggest total emitter in EU. We also need a pathway to coal-free steel… In response to this tweet by Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) @PastCoal · Good news       our member Austria closes its last #coal-fired power plant today. The country aims to achieve 100% #renewable power by 2030. A true role model in the transition to #PoweringPastCoal … [link]

8apr20 The Environmental Appeal of Green Steel, with Chris Bataille Chris Bataille, Daniel Raimi, and Elizabeth Wason in Resources.

April 2020 Europe’s coal power collapse exposes steel plants as Europe’s biggest emitters – Dave Jones and Chris Rosslowe – Ember (formerly Sandbag)
We are well on the way to coal-free electricity; now we need to start on coal-free steel. … Amongst ‘top CO2 emitters in European countries in 2019’: Port Talbot Steelworks, Tata Group 6433 ktCO2, Scunthorpe Integrated Iron & Steel Works, British Steel 4525 ktCO2 …

March 2020 “A better alternative [to an EU carbon border tax (to e.g. prevent carbon leakage etc)] would be to support low-carbon production of products that are linked to high carbon emissions in their production. The EU would provide large-scale public support to the deployment of green steel, green cement or green aviation. This would produce a double benefit. First, it would strengthen the long-term competitiveness of the EU in these currently high-carbon sectors. Second, it could provide the world with the technologies needed for deep decarbonisation. … ” REF.

27mar20 China’s January-February coking coal imports rise Argus Media.
China imported more coking coal during January-February compared with the same period last year, as Chinese buyers showed more interest in purchasing relatively cheaper seaborne coking coal.
China imported 14.3mn t of coking coal during January-February, up by 38.8pc from 10.3mn t a year earlier, according to Chinese customs data. There was no separate breakdown available for January and February.
China imported 9.86mn t from main exporter Australia during January-February, up by 79.6pc from 5.49mn t over the same period in 2019.
The Argus spot price assessment for premium low-volatile hard coking coal averaged $152.93/t fob Australia during January-February, down by 24.5pc from $202.43/t on the same basis against the same period last year.
By Rou Urn Lee.

9mar20 BEIS Press release British Steel sale to Jingye Group completes
The sale safeguards over 3,200 jobs in Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and on Teesside. Published 9 March 2020 From: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP
9mar20 Jingye completes acquisition of British Steel Jingye Group, a leading Chinese steelmaker, today heralded a successful future for British Steel after completing the acquisition of the company’s UK and Netherlands assets from the Official Receiver.
China’s Jingye acquires British Steel; to expand into EAF steelmaking on Teesside S&P Global. But is re-lining one of the BF’s – a carbon lock-in.

HYDROGEN for steel-making: Although the UK can potentially get most if not all its new steel from the much lower carbon method (for the UK) of recycling scrap using EAFs instead of exporting most of its scrap abroad (read Prof Julian Allwood et al.), “virgin steel” (from iron ore) can by the end of this decade (if not within 5 years) be made using green hydrogen instead of coking coal (BBC on this), hence I’ve added this link:

21feb20 World’s largest wind farm to power UK green hydrogen plan Renew Economy. … ‘“Creating renewable hydrogen with offshore wind really has the potential to decarbonise industrial processes, and what is needed now is to scale up the electrolyser technology and bring the cost down,” explained Anders Christian Nordstrøm, Vice President for Hydrogen, Ørsted. “We’ve seen this happen in offshore wind. With industry and government working together, there has been a rapid deployment and a huge cost reduction. This project aims to do the same with hydrogen. At the right cost, this technology has the potential to play a huge role in meeting the UK’s decarbonisation targets.‘ …


20feb20 Redcar steelworks land deal ‘marks new era’ – BBC
A deal has been agreed to buy the former SSI steelworks site in Redcar in a move that could create thousands of jobs, according to the area’s mayor.
The 840 acres, owned by SSI UK since the plant went into liquidation in 2015, has been acquired by the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC).
The deal includes a plan to develop an electric arc furnace on the STDC Lackenby site. …

840 acres of SSI land will be transferred across to a Teesside development corporation so it can start the vital clean-up and redevelopment

20feb20 Steve Gibson says SSI deal is ‘better than anything I thought was possible’

The Boro owner has played a key role in the negotiations and says he is ‘absolutely delighted’ at the deal – By Alex MetcalfeLocal Democracy Reporter

20feb20 Middlesbrough MP hails SSI deal By Nick Loughlin Teesside Editor, The Northern Echo

15feb20 Using Australian coal in Port Talbot ‘needs to stop’ Includes errors of assumption by the local XR there. They should have consulted XR Cumbria and/or SLACCtt.

8jan20 VoestalpineHydrogen-energy source for the future?
“H2FUTURE: World’s largest “green” hydrogen pilot facility successfully commences operation: What is currently the world’s largest pilot plant for the CO2-neutral production of hydrogen has successfully commenced operation at the voestalpine site in Linz, simultaneously setting an international milestone in the advancement of new energy supply options. As part of the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, partners voestalpine, VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET and TNO are researching into the industrial production of green hydrogen as a means of replacing fossil fuels in steel production over the long term.”

1jan20 Adopting hydrogen direct reduction for the Swedish steel industry: A technological innovation system (TIS) study by DuncanKushnirabTeisHansenabValentinVoglcMaxÅhmanc in Elsevier Journal of Clear Production.

2020 NB: The ‘Absolute Zero‘ report by UK FIRES has a section on the decarbonisation of steel-making  (Professor Julian Allwood et al.), which pushes for the UK to improve and increase the recycling of its scrap steel instead of exporting it. Well worth reading.

2019 to 2020 ====================

15nov19 STEEL BREAKTHROUGH – THYSSENKRUPP MAKES STEEL USING HYDROGEN [in a blast furnace in Germany] – @AUmanufacturing
Note that the title is an exaggeration – because only 1 of the 28 injecting ports was used to inject hydrogen as a reducing agent instead of coal dust, and other aspects too. The article claims “It is aiming to run at least three furnaces completely on hydrogen by 2023.” This seems maybe rather over-optimistic a claim for a blast furnace? I hope I’m wrong.

14nov19 SSAB to be first to market with fossil-free steel – SSAB.
Recently it was announced that the HYBRIT initiative, where SSAB is one of the owners, will step up work and that SSAB will be able to deliver fossil-free steel to the market already in 2026.
…”In line with SSAB’s global ambitions, the company anticipates that its US operations, which utilize scrap-based electric arc furnace (EAF) technology, will be powered completely by renewable energy by 2022 in its Iowa operations. It will also be able to offer fossil-free steel products starting in 2026, utilizing sponge iron developed through the HYBRIT initiative in Sweden.” …
“Further, SSAB has decided to replace the two blast furnaces in Oxelösund with an electric arc furnace already in 2025. This will eliminate most of the carbon dioxide emissions at SSAB Oxelösund. The switch to an electric arc furnace is a necessary step in order to be able to utilize the sponge iron from the HYBRIT demonstration plant, which will start operating at the same time.
“We intend to gradually convert the entire production chain right up to finished steel across SSAB’s production system in Sweden, Finland and the US. The goal is for the entire company to be fossil-free by 2045 at the latest,” said Martin Pei.”

Re Jingye and British Steel:
11nov19 BBC on

16sep19 ArcelorMittal commissions Midrex to design demonstration plant for hydrogen steel production in Hamburg – Press release by Midrex.
Hamburg, 16 September 2019 – ArcelorMittal announced today that it has commissioned technology provider Midrex Technologies to design a demonstration plant at its Hamburg site to produce steel with hydrogen. … The first Project Development Agreement is to demonstrate in Hamburg the large-scale production and use of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) made with 100% hydrogen as the reductant.
In the coming years, the demonstration plant will produce about 100,000 tons of direct reduced iron per year – initially with grey hydrogen sourced from natural gas. Conversion to green hydrogen from renewable energy sources will take place once available in sufficient quantities and at an economical cost. Energy for hydrogen production could come from wind farms off the coast of Northern Germany. The plant will be the world’s first direct reduction plant on an industrial scale, powered by hydrogen.

NB: for references pre-November 2019 try – though here they are mostly not chronologically ordered.

19mar19 ESG Focus: Coke; You Can’t Beat The Real Thing – Or Can You? ESG Focus | Sarah Mills – Part One of FNArena’s deep dive into the future of coking coal in an increasingly carbon sensitive world. [FNArea provides financial news, analysis and data]. – Marianne spotted this


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