GREEN INNOVATIONS

IN METAL INDUSTRY

The demand of energy is growing day by day along with low carbon energy transition. Resource consumption in the world is rising rapidly, driven by population growth and rising wealth, but the real doubt is, whether the earth has the capacity to support continuously escalating levels of resource extraction and disposal. Facing increasing environmental pressure, green innovation has become extremely important for manufacturers to achieve sustainable development. Green innovation has been a key to deal with the environmental issues. Metal industry have also contributed for earths safety by producing green metals which is the future of metals. One way of achieving greater efficiency in resource use is by “dematerialisation”, which is broadly defined as the reduction in the amount of energy and materials required to service economic functions. Metals have the greatest potential for unlimited recycling. 

Kobe’s increased blast furnace efficiency

Japanese steel manufacturer Kobe Steel recently developed a new technique for creating steel in natural gas blast furnaces that use less coke, a raw material with a high carbon content used in steel production. By adding hot briquetted iron (iron ore with the oxygen removed) to the blast furnaces as a fuel source at a precise ratio, Kobe said it has perfected a way to maintain the efficiency of the CO2 reduction process and use less coke as fuel. “If you need to gradually get to zero emissions over 30 years, cutting your emissions by 20 percent buys 20 percent of the 30 years, so that gives you six years,” he said. “That technology is only relevant for six years. They need more effective technologies installed very soon; otherwise, they’re not on track. But they’re actually reducing their carbon footprint, which is to their credit a lot more than most of the steel industry.”

EIT InnoEnergy’s hydrogen steel plant

Hydrogen offers one possibility of a completely carbon dioxide-free process for making steel, according to some experts. In traditional blast furnaces, coal is used to strip the oxygen out of the iron ore, creating steel and CO2. According to the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association and  By using hydrogen instead of coal for that process, the byproduct is water (H2O) instead of CO2.“In order for this to work, [steel manufacturers] have to change their mindset,” he said. “Think in terms of value chain. So it’s not about the price of the hydrogen or the steel. It’s the price of the end product like the car. 

 

Boston Metal’s molten oxide electrolysis

A new technology originally created at MIT, molten oxide electrolysis, aims to separate the oxygen from the iron ore using electricity and creating O2 as the byproduct instead of CO2. Boston Metal is tasked with bringing this technology to a commercial level for the steel industry. Over the next two to three years, the company hopes to take its laboratory success and bring it to market. It’s focusing on regions such as Europe, Canada and Australia where there is easy access to renewable energy because like hydrogen steel, the electrolysis process requires access to large amounts of clean power to keep the process carbon-free all the way down the pipeline.

“The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”
-Lady Bird Johnson

“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
—John Paul II

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anand@nanajilanandfoundation.org