The steel industry is regarded as one of the dirtiest, accounting for more than 7% of global carbon emissions. To mitigate the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions, industry experts are now focusing on a sustainable steelmaking process that has the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions to near zero. Green steel is one such effort to produce steel with the least carbon footprint possible during production. Green steel production is thought to reduce CO2 emissions by 95% compared to traditional steel production. In this article, we’ll learn more about What is Green Steel and how it’s made. Let us begin with a definition of green steel.
What is Green Steel?
Green steel is environmentally friendly and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional steelmaking processes. The implementation of non-coal-based alternative technologies results in a reduction in this footprint. Green steel production usually uses green hydrogen rather than coal or electricity generated from non-fossil sources.
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Green Steel Manufacturing
Green steel is produced through the direct reduction of iron ore with hydrogen. The first step in the chemical green steelmaking process is to use hydrogen to reduce the solid iron ore. It produces sponge iron,’ an intermediate product. The sponge iron is then fed into an electric arc furnace, where it is melted to produce steel. Most of the processes involved in green steel production are fully integrated, digitized, and automated in a greenfield steel plant.
- They convert water through electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen.
- Iron ore is exposed to hydrogen inside a reactor to produce direct reduced iron, which is then transported to an electric arc furnace while the DRI is hot.
- The DRI and steel scrap are heated in the electric arc furnace to produce a homogeneous liquid steel melt. After that, the melt is transferred to a ladle furnace and degasser, where alloying additions are made to achieve the desired properties.
- The liquid steel is converted into solid green steel products through continuous casting and rolling.
- In the final step, downstream finishing is performed using various treatment processes such as cold working, galvanization, heat treatment, and so on, depending on the customer’s requirements.
Challenges with Green Steel
Decarbonizing the entire steel industry is a significant challenge in the face of climate change. Conventional steelmaking accounts for approximately 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of all cars on the planet’s roads. Again, steel is required to manufacture automobiles, so the impact overlaps. This is why steel is such a big deal regarding climate change.
According to estimates, 1 tonne of steel produced using traditional methods emits approximately 2 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and the world consumes more than 2 billion tonnes of steel each year. The blast furnace, where iron ore is converted to pig iron, accounts for more than half of total emissions.
Economically reducing carbon emissions remains difficult, and various process improvements are still required. Environmentalists will increase their push for green steel production in the coming years. Various research and development projects are still ongoing, and green steel production on a large scale will become a reality shortly.
Many nations are attempting to commercialize large-scale green steel production, with Sweden leading.