Tata Steel hopes to make buildings greener

As the steel industry’s own direct greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly regulated, especially in Europe, steelmakers are keen to highlight the green credentials of their steel products.

SBB 1 April Tata Steel officially opened the Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC) at its Shotton site in North Wales yesterday, in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government and Low Carbon Research Institute.

The site will research how cold reduced sheet produced at Port Talbot, and galvanised and coated at Shotton, can be enveloped around an existing or new building to capture, store and generate heat. Its aim is to transform buildings, which Tata says account for 40% of manmade emissions, from energy consumers into energy generators.

A transpired solar collector on the external wall of a building can capture 50% of the sun’s energy and turn it into warm air, which can be used in heating or cooling systems or turned into electricity. The sheet contains micro perforations that allow the sun’s energy to be stored in the cavity wall between the building and its envelope, Steel Business Briefing understands.

Peter Strikwerda, managing director of Tata Steel Colours, says the steel “immediately goes to the market to make sure we get economic benefit out of it.” While sales discussions have started, further development of the market is required, SBB hears. Customers will get their money back in 3-6 years.

Tata has also extended the life of its photovoltaic project at Shotton, which was started in 2008 and designed to go on for three years. Photovoltaic coatings of steel sheet allow the sun’s energy to be turned into electricity.

Shotton can galvanise 800,000 tonnes/year of steel and coat 400,000t/y.


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