Posts Tagged ‘CO2’

AISI urges support of bill to block EPA regulation of GHGs

This objection from the AISI is understandable, but does nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the steel industry. It is understandable, as the problem is definitely global, but it will not be resolved globally without the full active participation of the USA. This can be either by EPA action or by the US Congress passing a cap and trade bill – from the worldwide GHG point of view – either or could be effective.

SBB 4 June 2010 The US Senate will consider legislation next week that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.

The US manufacturing industry is against EPA regulation of GHGs, as Steel Business Briefing has reported, saying it would raise US manufacturing costs while allowing foreign competitors to increase their emissions, resulting in no environmental benefit.

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) sent out a ‘steel action alert’ this week, urging member companies and others in the steel industry to contact their senators and ask them to support the legislation when it is considered next week.

AISI acknowledges that climate change is a global problem but says it can only be addressed effectively on a global basis.

“Given the lack of international consensus on binding GHG emissions commitments, US climate change policy should be established through legislation,” not through EPA regulation, AISI contends. Through legislation, measures can be included that would help maintain the industry’s global competitiveness, AISI notes.


ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih to complete caster by late-2011

The main countries still casting ingots are Russia and Ukraine. In terms of reducing carbon emissions, this investment should be seen as expensive low hanging fruit, as a continuous caster removes a key stage in the process – rolling ingot into billet, for example.

SBB 4 June 2010 Ukraine’s ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih has begun construction of a continuous billet caster, which will eventually replace its current ingot casting process, Steel Business Briefing learns from the company. The $100m (€81.9m) caster will produce up to 1.2m t/y of billet when it comes on stream in September 2011.

The supplier, Siemens VAI, which has a strong presence in Ukraine, will play an important part in the construction of the caster; however, 80% of the work will be contracted to local engineering firms, Jean Jouet, ceo of ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih, is quoted as saying.

“The installation of the caster will turn Kryviy Rih into a technologically advanced plant, which can meet high international standards and customers’ requirements,” says Jouet.

Once the new caster enters service, the mill will benefit from more efficient production processes, including: a 10% energy saving per tonne of steel output; an increased product range due to the higher quality of steel being produced in the ladle furnace; 10% cuts in CO2 emissions per tonne of billet; and a 10% increase in yield.
The continuous caster, which has been awaited at Kryviy Rih plant since the late 1980s, represents a key element of the modernisation programme adopted by ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih, as well as satisfying one of the company’s key liabilities outlined in the acquisition agreement.

EU steel industry opposes higher CO2 reduction targets

Part of the continuous argument over carbon leakage – will it or will it not seriously impact the European steel industry? There is no evidence either way at this stage, as the European Trading System for CO2 emissions has only just started to bite. The steelmakers can play on the fear of job losses, whilst the environmentalists can play on lack of information.

SBB 26 May European steel producers’ federation Eurofer and the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) are jointly opposing moves by the Commission to impose a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

The commission is launching a feasibility study on the proposal today, Steel Business Briefing understands. In the absence of comparable measures being adopted in other countries, such an initiative could force cuts in production and jobs in European industry, the two steel industry federations claim.

“Globally traded carbon-intensive goods, such as steel, need to be treated with equal measures in both developed and emerging economies to preserve the competitiveness of our industry,” argues Gordon Moffat, director general of Eurofer.

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace, meanwhile, argues there is no empirical evidence that more ambitious climate change policies would result in mass relocation of industry outside of the EU.

However, the group recognises the proposed change could possibly impact a “small number of sectors” with “internationally mobile plants”, which could include steel. Steel is also listed as one of 23 industries which could experience a “non-negligible” cost impact (over 1% of production costs) from higher CO2 reduction targets.

Stainless mills could cut CO2 by up to 50%

Using scrap is a great idea, but is there enough high quality stainless scrap available?

SBB 6 May Carbon emissions from stainless steel production could be reduced by up to 50%, or by 37m tonnes/year in the medium term provided more high quality stainless steel scrap was used instead of primary raw materials. So says a study on behalf of German-Dutch raw materials trader Oryx Stainless by Germany’s Fraunhofer-Institute UMSICHT.

In addition, industry could achieve billions of dollars in savings through a reduced need for pollution credits, it says.

Currently, a global average of only 50% of stainless scrap is used in making new stainless steel – although the ratio is significantly higher in some regions (North America) and significantly lower in others (China), Steel Business Briefing notes.

Despite limited reserves of secondary raw materials worldwide, Roland Mauss of Oryx says that in the medium term this average level can be raised to 75% through “smart recycling”.

Secondary raw materials should be more intelligently utilised through modern processes such as blending, to produce a customised raw material comprising a wide variety of steel and stainless steel scrap. The volume of secondary raw materials used in stainless production can be increased two- to three-fold, Oryx says.

But to be able to deliver the right blend at the right time, accessible, open world trading markets are a must. Also, market transparency needs to be increased. “What we need is an electronic information platform for stainless steel scrap so that the globally operating suppliers and traders can interact even more efficiently,” Mauss says.

EUAs become new form of state support

The idea of allocating fresh EUAs to support a project (in this case the resumption of steel production, safeguarding jobs) may be positive from the economic/commercial angle/employment, but no so constructive if the overall aim of the game is to reduce CO2 emissions, and prevent climate change.

SBB 23 March The Walloon government in Belgium is proposing to allocate 12 million tonnes in carbon credits (EUAs) to ArcelorMittal for the period 2008-2012. The offer is part of the negotiations for restarting blast furnace B in Ougrée in Liège; this was idled in May 2009 but is due to restart in mid-April.

“ArcelorMittal will carefully study the Walloon government’s decision to solve the question of CO2 allowances. This is an important step in the restart and investment plan of the liquid phase,” at the plant, an ArcelorMittal spokesman tells Steel Business Briefing.

Of these 12m t in allowances, the Walloon government has still to decide the exact annual allocation for each year between 2008 and 2012, a spokesperson from the regional environment ministry says. The region will provide these allowances in return for an agreement by the company to invest €110m in environmentally modernising the Liège plant.

ArcelorMittal initially asked the Walloon government for 20m in credits, the government spoksman also tells SBB. There is no deadline at the moment for an agreement to be signed.

Rautaruukki results show small rise in CO2 intensity in ’09

Transparency on CO2 emissions is positive: all steel producers should be obliged to publish these and similar numbers by steel making location/operation. It would make the companies themselves more aware of the results of their activities. Its true that not a lot can be done in terms of emissions reductions in the short term, but some improvements in efficiency can be made. In addition, companies can estimate the impact of their products in terms of life cycle contributions, as Rautaruukki has done.

SBB 15 March Rautaruukki tells Steel Business Briefing that the small increase in the average tonnage of CO2 emitted per tonne of crude steel in 2009, compared with 2008, was due to the relatively low capacity utilisation rate in the year.

This meant that the Finnish company’s molten iron was produced less efficiently last year. Indeed it was below the minimum level necessary to ensure the efficient operation of the reduction process in the blast furnace, SBB was told.

According to figures in Rautaruukki’s annual report for 2009, the company produced 3.5m tonnes of CO2 and 1.9m t of crude steel in 2009. This gives an average of 1.85 t of CO2/tonne of crude steel, up from 1.78 t of CO2/t steel in 2008. The company’s goal is to improve the energy efficiency of production by 9% between 2005 and 2016.

Meanwhile, looking at the impact of Rautaruukki products as measured through their life cycle, the company says it reduced global CO2 emissions by 610,000 t. It did this by recycling steel and various mineral products. “Depending on the grade of steel being made, 20-30% of recycled steel was used in steel making,” it comments.

This cut in emissions reflects the specific range of products that Rautaruukki is currently producing. It highlights specialties for the construction and renewable energy sectors.

Iron and Steel Generates 5% of World CO2

The iron and steel industry is responsible for at least 5% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Though inter-governmental talks on setting specific emission targets for future years seem to be going nowhere, most governments agree that much needs to be done to reduce such discharges. The steel industry stands to gain as well as lose from such developments. For further information please click here

 The SBB Green Steel Summit will examine the various ways that the steel industry’s emissions are being viewed and highlight the ways in which steel producers and consumers, as well as industry suppliers and analysts, need to prepare themselves for the likely changes.

The recent failure of the Copenhagen talks to identify a clear follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol has removed some of the earlier impetus for governments and companies to take action on sustainability. SBB believes that this hiatus provides an opportunity for the steel industry to examine its priorities at an independently-hosted meeting.

Many in the industry believe that a full life cycle analysis of the industry’s finished production shows that its CO2 footprint is not as substantial as it might first appear. The widespread reuse of steel in electric arc furnaces, as well as in the converter in integrated producers is clearly a key factor in this view.

In contrast, many governments and pressure groups take a narrower approach. On the one hand, they believe that steel should broadly be subject to the same rules as other manufacturing industries. On the other hand, they also generally accept that stringent controls of emissions would place their steel sectors seriously at risk from carbon leakage (which would involve a shift in steel-making to countries with less rigorous CO2 regulations). The extent of any leakage will depend though, on the price of carbon allowances; currently it is relatively low.

Carbon leakage is of most concern in Europe and North America. At present, it is unclear if the USA will adopt cap and trade legislation as in Europe. However in the long term, carbon emission regulations, whether they be through carbon taxes, direct emission limits or a market based mechanism (such as cap and trade) are expected to reshape the industry. Most expect to see steel-making move to countries such as India, Brazil and Russia.

To counter this, many in the steel industry in North America and the European Union are urging governments to tax steel imports from countries that have lax or no emissions’ legislation. The SBB Green Steel summit will examine these moves and to what extent they are consistent with WTO rules.

Meanwhile in Europe, negotiations are currently focussing on some form of plant-based benchmarking to operate alongside the cap and trade legislation.  This would give free allowances to only a handful of the most efficient steel makers. Others could face harsh cost penalties.

At the same time, many steel consumers, particularly in the car and construction industries are increasingly looking to buy steel manufactured through sustainable routes. This is likely to give an edge to EAF producers, which emit far lower levels of CO2/tonne of steel. But in the future, if insufficient scrap is available in appropriate qualities, then EAF producers may also want to switch to DRI/HBI and or pig iron. The SBB Summit will look at these possibilities, and their availability.

Other industrial sectors such as power generation are also facing the need to buy carbon emission allowances; to mitigate this they are already looking to buy steel of higher grades and in larger volumes. Wind turbines, for example, are quite steel intensive. Car manufacturers too want lighter but tougher steels for new hybrid vehicles to emit less CO2.

At the end of the day, steel makers may be forced to invest in new technologies. The blast furnace route necessarily involves the emission of CO2 from its use of coke. New technologies require R&D, and steel makers are looking for government support for this. Most of the so-called “breakthrough” technologies now under discussion involve the use of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The SBB Washington Summit will examine these proposed technologies and their likely positive and negative impact on the steel industry.

By Roger Manser