Decarbonisation, the circularity of production activities and the search for a form of business that can combine development, profitability and sustainability has been addressed on the Arezio / PlastiCare blog many times, more often addressing the issues of the circular economy with a focus on recycled plastic.
With this article, written by ArcelorMittal, we want to underline the companies' commitment to a more sustainable and circular production also in the field of metals.
ArcelorMittal announces a group-wide commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, building on the commitment hired in 2019 for its European effort to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050.
Commenting on the net zero target by 2050, before addressing the challenge of decarbonising the steel industry today at the Financial Times Commodities Conference, Aditya Mittal, President and CFO, said:
“If the world is to reach net zero by 2050, all parts of the economy in all regions of the world will need to contribute. As the world's leading steel company, we believe we have a responsibility to lead efforts to decarbonise the steelmaking process, which today has a significant carbon footprint.
“Steel will remain a vital material for our world and in fact it is the most circular material of all. Our challenge is to be able to produce steel using clean energy technologies on a commercial scale, while remaining competitive in the global steel industry.
“We are working on various pilot technologies that have excellent potential. In Hamburg, where we own and operate the only DRI-EAF plant in Europe, we will test not only the ability of hydrogen to reduce iron ore and form DRI, but we will also test that carbon-free DRI in the EAF in real steel - manufacturing process.
“Hydrogen has great potential but, given the significant transition costs, we also believe in working on solutions for the traditional integrated path. This essentially follows the path of bioenergy, carbon capture, utilization and storage, which, as stressed by both the IPCC and the IEA, will be key to achieving net zero by 2050.
What's also interesting about this path is that it has the potential to not only deliver carbon-neutral steel, but also other products that will help the chemical industry produce carbon-neutral plastics.
“Crucial to making the goal a reality will be the policy of allowing steel to remain competitive during decarbonisation, particularly as each region of the world moves at a different pace.
We intend to actively engage with governments to chart a way forward that will enable the steel industry to make significant progress through a carefully designed policy that protects against carbon leakage. "
ArcelorMittal has identified two low-emission steelmaking routes, both of which have the potential to lead to zero-emission steelmaking:
• The Hydrogen-DRI pathway, which uses hydrogen as a reducing agent. A demonstration plant in Hamburg, where ArcelorMittal owns the only operational DRI-EAF plant in Europe, is currently planned with a targeted start in 2023.
• The Smart Carbon path is focused on modifying the blast furnace path to create carbon neutral steel production through the use of circular carbon - in the form of sustainable biomass or carbon-containing waste streams - and carbon capture and use (CCU) and storage (CCS).
ArcelorMittal is well advanced in building several commercial-scale projects to test and demonstrate a range of Smart Carbon technologies. The start-up target for key projects is expected in 2022.
While both roads have the potential to deliver carbon-neutral steel by 2050, we believe Smart Carbon can deliver sooner and make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions this decade, while it is unlikely that industrial scale production from the Hydrogen-DRI route may be significant before 2030 due to the current high costs.
The Company has also previously outlined the steps in the policy it deems necessary for zero-emission steel production to become a reality, which includes:
1. A global level playing field that avoids the risk of carbon leakage through mechanisms such as green border adjustment
2. Access to abundant and affordable clean energy
3. Policies to support the development of the necessary clean energy infrastructure
4. Access to sustainable finance for low-carbon steelmaking e
5. Policies that accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
ArcelorMittal will provide further details in support of its 2050 net zero target in its second climate action report, which is expected to be published by the end of 2020.
ArcelorMittal is a member of Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) and is an active member of ETC's ongoing Net Zero Steel Initiative in partnership with the World Economic Forum. ArcelorMittal is also actively engaged with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) to define a viable SBT for the steel industry taking into account the two distinct routes in operation today.