Posts Tagged ‘Nucor’

Carbon reduction initiatives spur debate

SBB 25 April  The merits of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System and other carbon reduction initiatives generated a spirited debate during Platts Steel Business Briefing’s third-annual Green Steel Strategies conference in Berlin.

A panel including; Steve Rowlan, Nucor’s gm of environmental affairs; Baroness Worthington, a member of British Parliament and founder of Sandbag; Christopher Beauman, senior adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and Mike Romano, vp of strategic accounts for NALCO; discussed the challenges of operating under current and proposed mandates.

Worthington argued a number of European steelmakers are “sitting on a large set of allowances” under the EU’s carbon trading scheme, as emissions have been below previous estimates.

Some say that’s simply due to reduced steel production amid the recessionary economic climate, and when one panelist questioned whether steel producers believe in the initiative, Worthington fired back: “It’s not whether you believe in it or not. It’s not a ghost or God. It’s actually a functioning policy that’s in place right now to bring carbon [emissions} down.”

Many involved in European carbon trading argue there should be intervention to prop up the sagging carbon price (a result of surplus emissions), such as a set-aside of allowances, as low prices do nothing to spur investment into new technology.

European steelmakers have told Platts SBB there should be no “manipulation” of the market, which is just designed to cut emissions.

Rowlan said cap-and-trade initiatives like those in place in Europe and being considered in the US put steelmakers at a cost disadvantage to competitors in regions without such policies. “To an industry that wants to be competitive, it is all about cost,” he said. “How does the steel industry survive?”

Beauman conceded higher costs “are inevitable” in the effort to reduce global CO2. “The question is at what spread and at what fairness?” he said.

Still, Romano said unproven and costly technologies like carbon sequestration aren’t the answer in the near term. “The technologies aren’t coming to the forefront in the next five years,” he said.

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SMA recognizes innovation, sustainability and safety efforts

SBB 16 May The Steel Manufacturers Association recognized a number of companies and individuals Tuesday at its annual members conference in Washington, DC, highlighting achievements in US minimill steelmaking innovations, safety, environmental stewardship and community involvement.

SMA chairman and Nucor president John Ferriola presented the 2012 SMA Achievement in Innovation award to CMC Steel Arizona for CMC’s partnership with Danieli Corp to build the first continuous cast/roll/cut-to-length micro mill, which enables cost-effective steel production at smaller steelmaking facilities.

The Don Daily SMA Achievement in Safety award was given to CMC Steel South Carolina and SSAB Alabama for what the SMA called their “leading role in promoting safety improvements in the EAF steel industry.”

SSAB Alabama and Keystone Steel & Wire received the 2012 SMA Achievement in Environmental Stewardship and Recycling award for their extensive recycling programs that promote the principle of sustainability. SMA’s member companies account for over 75 percent of total US steel capacity, and utilize a feedstock almost entirely composed of recycled scrap metal.

The 2012 SMA Achievement in Community Involvement Award was presented to Evraz Pueblo, CMC Steel Alabama, Nucor Decatur and Nucor Tuscaloosa. Evraz Pueblo was recognized for assisting veterans, who comprise a quarter of the facility’s workforce, with re-entering civilian life and finding employment within the steel industry. CMC Steel Alabama was recognized for relief provided to the Birmingham community following tornadoes there in April 2011. Nucor Steel Decatur and Tuscaloosa were also recognized for April 2011 tornado relief efforts.

ArcelorMittal receives approval for French CCS project

SBB 20 October ArcelorMittal has been given an official licence from the French government to examine possible locations for carbon dioxide storage in what could be the world’s first steelmaking carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. The project aims to capture and store emissions from an experimental blast furnace at the company’s Florange steelworks in the east of the country.

The blast furnace at Florange will recycle waste gases back into the furnace to add to the process of reducing iron ore to iron, cutting emissions by 25%. The remaining emissions would be suitable for CCS, which would lead to a further 50% reduction in emissions. The company hopes to have results from its industrial-scale pilot plant by 2014, Steel Business Briefing notes.

The project is part of the ‘Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking’ (ULCOS) programme which aims to develop new steelmaking technologies that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from steelmaking by over 50%. ULCOS is funded by a group that includes the EU, national governments and companies including steelmakers.

‘Green’ steel technologies costly, time-consuming: execs

Any significant reduction in emissions from te steel industry will requirethe widespread use of greener technologies. However, breakthrough technologies are still years from commercial development and very expensive.

SBB 11 April Technologies aimed at reducing steel’s carbon emissions require significant time and capital to develop, mill executives and experts on the topic contend.

Speaking during Steel Business Briefing’s Green Steel Strategies conference in Brussels on 5-6 April, Jean-Pierre Birat, head of the Ultra-low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) program with ArcelorMittal’s global research and development unit, said the industry has worked to reduce emissions for more than 20 years – well before the EU, US and others undertook similar initiatives.

The EU is requiring steelmakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21% from 2005 to 2020. “We are fighting, running against time because we are told we must have a solution by 2020, which is a tremendous constraint,” Birat said.

Mills have been working on ULCOS technologies, such as the HIsarna project at Tata Steel Europe’s IJmuiden plant in the Netherlands. The €60m (US$86.6m) pilot project features an internal “melting cyclone” that involves direct insertion of coal, ore and oxygen to help reduce CO2 emissions by 20%. If carbon sequestration also is employed, CO2 can be reduced by 80%.

However, even with a commissioning this month, the HIsarna plant’s industrial scale demonstration phase would run from 2014-2018. “We cannot expect any of this technology to be capturing CO2 in a way that makes sense before 2020,” Birat said.

And, as CO2 efforts drive up costs in developed regions, end users could simply buy elsewhere. “They’re going to get it from markets where they can make it cheaper,” Nucor’s GM of environmental affairs Steve Rowlan said.

Nucor exec says ‘let market drive’ GHG reduction

While integrated steelmakers are very concerned about the direct costs of cap and trade schemes, EAF producers are more worried about the effect on electricity prices.

SBB 7 April Competition and self-directed technological innovation should drive the global steel industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, not government initiatives, according to a high-ranking Nucor executive.

Speaking on 6 April during Steel Business Briefing’s Green Steel Strategies conference in Brussels, Nucor GM of environmental affairs Steve Rowlan said the US steel industry has already reduced CO2 emissions by some 28-30% since 1990.

“That was not because of any government edict. Competition drives it,” Rowlan said. “We’re looking at more technologies that would make us more efficient. Let the market drive it.”

Controversial climate change legislation that died in the US Congress likely would have resulted in a net temperature reduction of less than 0.1% Celsius. “In statistics, that’s in the chatter,” Rowlan said.

“We’re trading carbon. We’re buying carbon. We’ve got governments involved,” he said. “But in the meantime, nobody’s talking about whether it will make a difference.”

He said various GHG reduction schemes being pursued in the US and abroad could potentially triple electricity rates for steelmakers and other manufacturers.

“We need affordable, reliable and abundant energy. I don’t wish anything bad for the rest of the world, but if they want a cap-and-trade program, more power to them,” Rowlan said. “It takes what would be an otherwise green industry and turns it into a red industry, while we’re not really addressing the problem … if it really exists.”

“You can’t be sustainable if you’re not profitable,” he added. “You can’t be profitable if you’re paying exorbitant amounts for energy.”