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What is GREEN STEEL - Importance, Methods of Production, Government Schemes, and Challenges



Green Steel by Vishal Industries Chandigarh

The Steel Industry is one of the biggest industries in terms of excessive use of energy and resources. Steel is the world’s most important construction and engineering material. It is used in the production of various construction equipment, vehicles, agricultural equipment, and many more. The Steel Industry is one of the biggest emitters of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) comprising around 8% of the total global emissions. Therefore, to save our environment, there is a need for the Introduction of Green Steel. In this article, we will discuss what Green Steel is, why it is important, and what changes steel manufacturers should make for this.


What is Green Steel?


Green Steel is defined as steel that is produced in environment-friendly and sustainable ways so that its effect on climate gets reduced. This process involves the use of renewable energy resources, reduction of carbon dioxide emission, and reduction of waste during production. As we have studied earlier the steel industry is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, therefore it is necessary to control carbon emissions. This can only be done by introducing “Green Hydrogen”.


Types of Hydrogen –


Green Hydrogen –

It is also known as renewable hydrogen. It can be obtained by electrolysis of water. This process is entirely powered by renewable energy sources such as wind energy, and solar energy to electrolyze the water. Electrolysers use an electrochemical reaction to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, emitting zero carbon dioxide to the environment. Therefore, it is the cleanest and most sustainable hydrogen.


Blue Hydrogen –

It is also known as low-carbon hydrogen. It is produced from natural gas and heated water in the form of steam. The output is hydrogen, but carbon dioxide is also produced as a by-product.


Grey Hydrogen –

This is the most common form of hydrogen production. It is produced from natural gas or methane. It is almost similar to blue hydrogen.


Brown or Black Hydrogen –

It is made from fossil fuels such as coal. It is very dangerous to the environment as it produces carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen as an output.



Methods of Green Steel Production –


Use of Renewable Energy –

Steel manufacturers require energy at different steps of production and furnaces. Green Steel is produced by using renewable energy resources such as wind energy, solar energy, etc instead of fossil fuels such as coal.


Usage of Green Hydrogen –

Green Steel is manufactured by replacing natural gas with Green Hydrogen. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions stopped, making the steel manufacturing process environment friendly.


Use of Decarbonization Technologies –

Green Steel requires technologies that are environment friendly and efficient. It includes the use of electric furnaces, downstream treatment of steel, reuse or recycling of scrap steel, etc.


Carbon storage –

Carbon storage is the technique in which if there is carbon emission in any process then this carbon dioxide should be captured, stored, and utilized for another purpose rather than released into the atmosphere. This will help in making Green Steel.


Waste Reduction –

Green Steel production aims to minimize the waste during the whole production process such as recycling of by-products, utilization of scrap steel, etc.


Government Policies –

The government should make policies regarding the purchase of Green Steel only. They should increase the purchase of environmentally sustainable Green Steel to drive the demand in the market. This pushes the steel manufacturers towards Green Steel and hence increases its production.


Importance of Green Steel –


Sustainability –

Green Steel production reduces carbon dioxide emissions and reduces the use of non-renewable energy resources such as coal, hence imparting a positive sustainable impact on the environment.


Environment friendly –

The steel industry is the highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and toxic chemicals, therefore causing air and water pollution. Green steel releases less or negligible toxic gases and chemicals, hence becoming environment friendly.


Consumer Demand –

Nowadays, people are looking for eco-friendly products. Customer prefers to purchase those products that cause less damage to the environment. Therefore, Green Steel helps in achieving their demands.


Reduction in energy consumption –

Earlier, steel manufacturers used fossil fuels such as coal for their furnace heating therefore utilizing more energy. Green steel manufacturing uses renewable energy resources as compared to fossil fuels. Hence, it is more environment friendly.


Steps taken by the Government of India to promote Green Steel –


The Ministry of Steel in India has set an ambitious target of net zero Carbon Emissions by 2070. To achieve this goal, they are taking different steps to promote Decarbonization in the Steel Industry, such as efficiently using renewable energy resources and Green Hydrogen. The steps taken by GOI for Green Steel production are discussed below:


Steel Scrap Recycling Policy (2009) –

This policy provides a framework to facilitate and promote the establishment of metal scrapping centers in India for scientific processing and recycling of scrap generation from various sources.

 

National Solar Mission (2010) –

This is also known as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). Its mission is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy.


Vehicle Scrapping Policy (2021) –

The objective of this policy is to reduce emissions, as the vehicles belonging to the Centre as well as State Government that are more than 15 years old, shall be scrapped. This shall increase the availability of scrap in the steel industry.

National Green Hydrogen Mission (2023) –

This scheme makes the production, storage, transportation, and utilization of green hydrogen more affordable. This mission would reduce the dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock.

  

Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) Scheme –

This scheme comes under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency. This scheme incentivizes the steel industry to reduce energy consumption.

 

Best Available Technologies (BAT) –

The steel sector has adopted the best available technologies all around the globe for modernization and expansion projects.

 

Implementation of Japan’s NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) Model Projects –

NEDO projects are for Energy Efficiency Improvement. These have been implemented in the steel plants for the effective use of energy resources.

 

Challenges on the path to Green Steel in India –

 

Iron ore –

The biggest problem faced by Indian Steel manufacturers is the use of low-grade iron ore. Currently, steel manufacturers are using low-grade iron ore, making them incompatible with Green Steel production. This low-grade iron ore can only be made into steel in a blast furnace. For Green Steel production they have to use High-grade iron ore, which is very difficult to arrange due to the lack of availability in India.

 

Adoption of Electric Arc Furnace –

Due to technical reasons, Green Steel making requires the ‘Electric Arc Furnace’ route. EAFs need high-grade iron ores, in which iron content is over 60 percent. Electric Arc Furnace is very expensive and, therefore not easy to install for all steel manufacturers.

 

Direct injection of Hydrogen as a replacement for Coal in Blast Furnaces –

Blast Furnaces is operated at very high temperatures 1000 to 1200 degrees Celsius. Combustion of hydrogen releases very little heat as compared to coal. Hydrogen needs to be preheated to high temperatures to provide sufficient heat. Preheating means more energy consumption. To make Green Steel, energy should be from renewable sources. The other main reason is that Hydrogen makes the steel brittle which leads to cracks and fractures in metal.


In Conclusion, Green Steel is the future of the Steel Industry. No matter what the hurdles in the path of achieving net zero carbon emissions, everyone has to do their duty and has to take responsibility to help in achieving this. It is possible to successfully eliminate carbon from the steel industry because of the presence of different alternatives.

We hope that this article will help you!

You can check out our other blogs also https://www.vishalindustrieschd.com/blog

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