Although the move to a greener economy may impose significant costs on steelmakers, it is important to also note the opportunities. Steel companies who develop products for future markets may be more sustainable than those who fail to inovate.
SBB 7 April The global market for “cleantech” products will double between now and 2020 to over $1,000bn, to become the steel industry’s biggest single demand sector, Toni Hemminki, Rautaruukki’s vice president for energy and environment, said at Steel Business Briefing’s Green Steel Strategies summit in Brussels on 5 April.
Cleantech applications are those that reduce the environmental impact of economic activity. ”We expect cleantech [applications] to represent 8% of global GDP in 2020,” he said. In particular, he sees important new uses of steel in wind energy generation, hydro power production, bio-energy harvesting, combustion and light weighting.
“The wind market in particular is growing, and underscores how steel is an important means to cutting carbon emissions”, he added. High strength steels, for example in wind tower lattices, can be used to provide specific energy efficiency solutions for Ruukki’s customers.
More generally, Rautaruukki is studying green steel strategies tailored to providing different solutions to various clients and sectors. One focus is improving the strength of plate because using a light-weight, high-strength steel increases payload, saves energy and reduces CO2, Hemminki noted.