Words by Smiley Team
Steel factories around the world pump out large clouds of smoke packed with carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas driving climate change. However, for one new factory in Sweden, this is happily not the case.
Instead of burning coke coal, the high tech pilot plant has discovered a way to burn hydrogen from renewable sources to create green steel, which they call HYBRIT. The factory is led by steel giant SSAB, mining company LKAB and Swedish state-owned firm Vattenfall.
“The cost of renewable energy, fossil-free energy, had come down dramatically,” Mikael Nordlander, Vattenfall’s head of industry decarbonisation told AP.
“We realised that we might have a chance now to outcompete the direct use of fossil fuels in industry with this electricity coming from fossil-free sources,” he explained.
Already the new green steel has reached commercial distributors, with Chinese-owned Volvo Group jumping in as the first car manufacturer to partner with HYBRIT.
As European car companies pledge to improve their environmental impacts, it appears there could be further uptake of the innovative steel.
Meanwhile, the European Union aims to lower CO2 emissions across its member countries by 55% down from 1990 levels. This will include taxes on companies’ C02 emissions and an appeal for manufacturers to ditch polluting production methods for eco-friendly alternatives.
Until more companies adopt better options, steel manufacturing will remain the most energy-consuming industry in the world.
Factories produce toxic fumes that cause cancer, including 1.83 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of steel produced. This makes steel a major cause of global warming, adding over 3.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere annually.
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