The inclusion of technologies to decarbonise steelmaking in the Council on the Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA)’s list of net-zero technologies sends a positive signal. However, EU authorities must seize the opportunity to drive carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) in Europe, says European steelmakers association Eurofer.
“All net-zero technologies, such as wind, solar and hydrogen electrolysers, depend on steel, with an estimated need for more than 74 million tonnes of steel for the expansion of EU renewables alone. Net-zero technologies made in Europe will be stronger with European low-carbon steel at the core,” Eurofer director general Axel Eggert says in a note sent to Kallanish.
The conversion of existing steel plants to hydrogen and electricity-based technologies is the first step to reaching climate-neutrality. “However, despite their recognition as net-zero technologies, the Council has not included their deployment in the Net Zero Industry Act. This means that low-carbon steel technologies will be excluded from the new rules facilitating permit-granting procedures. A potential reassessment five years after the Act’s entry into force will be too late for the first wave of the steel sector’s transition process and likely result in significant implementation delays. While progress has been made on CCUS and lead market access, further work is needed in both areas,” Eurofer observes.
The upcoming negotiations between the European Council and Parliament should aim to establish a well-functioning CCUS value chain, especially concerning the preparation of the fields for storage, transport network and financing, it adds.
The steel industry’s successful transition will also depend on the availability of markets that are willing to pay a premium for low-carbon products. The EU should therefore support green markets with ambitious sustainability criteria to reward environmentally sustainable manufacturing, the association concludes.
Adam Smith Poland