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Evaluating the Role of Enhanced Resource Efficiency in Achieving Short-Term Decarbonization Targets in the Steel Industry

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on December 16, 2023

Introduction:

In the concerted effort to decarbonize the steel sector within the short term, targeting the fiscal year 2030, the primary emphasis lies in the reduction of carbon emissions through a multifaceted approach. The strategic pillars for this short-term goal revolve around the proactive promotion of energy and resource efficiency within the steel industry. This involves the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and best practices that optimize processes and minimize wastage, thereby contributing significantly to a more sustainable production ecosystem. Additionally, the integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, plays a pivotal role in mitigating the carbon footprint of steel manufacturing.

Objective:

As the trajectory extends into the medium term, spanning from 2030 to 2047[1], the focus pivots towards more advanced and transformative measures. Green Hydrogen-based steelmaking emerges as a central element in this phase, representing a paradigm shift towards cleaner and more sustainable production processes. By harnessing the potential of Green Hydrogen, derived from renewable sources, the steel industry aims to revolutionize its approach, effectively substituting traditional carbon-intensive methods with environmentally friendly alternatives. Concurrently, the implementation of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage technologies becomes integral to trapping and repurposing emissions, fostering a circular economy that significantly curtails the sector's overall carbon impact.

Looking towards the long term, spanning from 2047 to 2070, the strategic vision embraces disruptive alternative technological innovations as the linchpin for achieving a net-zero carbon future. This visionary perspective acknowledges the dynamic nature of technological advancements and underscores the need for revolutionary breakthroughs to propel the steel sector towards sustainability. These innovations could include groundbreaking processes, materials, or entirely new paradigms that fundamentally transform the industry, ensuring its alignment with global climate goals.

Steps Taken:

The government has undertaken a multifaceted approach to promote decarbonization within the steel industry, recognizing the imperative for sustainable practices. Thirteen Task Forces have been established through collaborative efforts involving industry stakeholders, academia, think tanks, scientific and technological bodies, various ministries, and other key players. These task forces are pivotal in facilitating discussions and formulating recommendations on diverse aspects of decarbonization within the steel sector. Complementing these efforts, the Steel Scrap Recycling Policy[2] of 2019 has been instrumental in bolstering the availability of domestically sourced scrap, thereby mitigating the reliance on coal in steel production processes.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy's National Green Hydrogen Mission represents a significant stride towards environmentally friendly practices, with the steel sector actively engaged as a stakeholder. Furthermore, the enactment of the Motor Vehicles (Registration and Functions of Vehicles Scrapping Facility) Rules in September 2021 is geared towards augmenting the availability of scrap for the steel industry. The National Solar Mission, initiated in January 2010, not only advocates for the utilization of solar energy but also contributes to the reduction of emissions within the steel sector.

Incentivizing energy efficiency, the Perform, Achieve and Trade scheme[3] under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency is targeted at encouraging the steel industry to curtail energy consumption. Moreover, the adoption of Best Available Technologies[4] globally in modernization and expansion projects underscores the commitment of the steel sector to staying at the forefront of technological advancements. In a testament to international collaboration, Japan's New Energy, and Industrial Technology Development Organization Model[5] Projects for Energy Efficiency Improvement have been successfully implemented in steel plants.

Conclusion:

The three-pronged approach, addressing short-term efficiency gains, medium-term transformative measures, and long-term disruptive innovations, forms a comprehensive and progressive strategy for the decarbonization of the steel sector, contributing significantly to broader environmental sustainability objectives. Hence, these initiatives collectively reflect the government's resolute commitment to fostering sustainability, innovation, and environmental responsibility within the steel industry, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.


[1] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1983137

[2] https://steel.gov.in/sites/default/files/Steel%20Scrap%20Recycling%20Policy%2006.11.2019.pdf

[3] https://beeindia.gov.in/sites/default/files/press_releases/Brief%20Note%20on%20PAT%20Scheme.pdf

[4] https://www.oecd.org/chemicalsafety/risk-management/best-available-techniques.htm

[5] https://www.nedo.go.jp/english/


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