Creating Steel Ecologically Friendly

We all know that steel can be used in many ways and provides us a sturdy foundation for homes, buildings, and other infrastructural projects. But we also know that coal is used in its manufacture which contributes to climate change.

According to an article from The Conversation, on average, for every tonne of steel products it emits almost two tonnes of carbon dioxide or CO?. With that, it contributes about 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

On a positive note, there is a new path aligned with a goal to decrease emission of carbon dioxide. It is called the “green steel”, it is created using hydrogen rather than coal. 

There are a few researchers discussing green steel and one of them is from Mineral Research of Western Australia.

According to their article, Western Australia has significant under-utilised magnetite resources and a potential green hydrogen production capacity which would enable the state to participate in the emerging green steel industry.

There are multiple scenarios along a continuum through which Western Australia could do this, including:

  1. Continuing to export iron ore; creating green hydrogen and exporting overseas for steel making;
  2. Producing direct-reduced iron locally, initially using gas-based direct reduction then subsequently through hydrogen direct reduction, and exporting overseas to be refined to steel;
  3. Producing steel locally, exporting semi-finished products for overseas fabrication.

There are a few struggles and drawbacks in producing this type of steel. There are questions on where and how to acquire adequate hydrogen as this steel process is a new technology.

Also from an article published by Mining Technology, “This is a classic case where what you’re trying to do is build supply at the same time as demand. And it’s not easy to do,” says Tony Wood, Energy Program Director at the Grattan Institute. “The demand for green steel is going to come from either businesses that are prepared to pay a premium for green steel or governments that are going to put some form of carbon price or carbon constraint on emissions from steel in the long run.

Would you choose to buy green steel for your steel shed? What if it cost a little more? Share your thoughts in the comments.



The Conversation
Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia
Mining Technology