The steel market has been witnessing a surge in demand with the prices zooming up in the international market. However, with high steel output, an underlining environmental concern often haunts the global economies, who are trying to curb the pollution level in line with Euro 6 emission standards.
In the recent event, we witnessed many suspensions on mills’ activities in China to curb the high smog in various steelmaking provinces such as Tangshan, Hebei, etc.
However, steel marks its presence everywhere including infrastructure, construction sector and many other sectors, so a production curb seems to be a temporary solution which is incapable of mitigating the environmental concern associated with the high steel output, and also hamper the demand.
Steel can contribute towards a low carbon future, and for that, the national governments and all other stakeholders, including the steel industry should join hands and work in collaboration. As, steel is highly recyclable, and its co-products from production are valuable resources it could address the global environmental concern.
Source: WSA; Steel Cycle
Over the past decades, the steel industry has reduced a significant amount of greenhouse gas emission by enhancing energy efficiency and deploying new technologies.
The factors as mentioned above, are axiomatic enough to reach to a conclusion that the steel could help the carbon resilient societies to address the environmental issue without hampering the economic growth, which requires high steel consumption.
As far as the recycling properties of steel are concerned, the use of steel scrap reduces the carbon emission, but the related problem to the recycling lies in the fact that the steel scrap availability is low amid high life of steel products such as infrastructure. However, a reduction in the amount of pre-consumer scrap generated while producing the final product of steel could have a considerable impact on the environment. The governmental policies, which emphasize on the recyclability, could further help.
As mentioned above, the steel industry has reduced the exposure to high energy demand over the past decades, and as per the data, the reduction of energy demand accounts for 61% in the last 50 years. However, the recent technology restricts further reduction and any development in the technology could boost the energy efficiency further.
As per a study from the World Steel Association, the average energy intensity of the crude steel production is 20Gj per tonne, which further holds the potential to get reduced by 15 to 20 per cent.
Source: World Steel Association
The co-products of steel production acts as raw materials for other industries, which in turn, reduces the carbon footprint from other industries. For example, blast furnace slag generated as a by-product in steel production gets consumed by the cement industry. Such use of by-products reduces the carbon emission and the government should devise policies which should promote the usage of such by-products.
The steel market contributes highly towards environmental pollution; however, the collaborative work and awareness could reduce the carbon footprints.
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