Europe’s steel production depends on decarbonisation: Tata Steel

Decarbonisation, high energy costs and the challenge of improving existing supply chains are the major obstacles for the steel industry today, Tata Steel Europe chief executive Henrik Adam said during the annual “Zukunft Stahl” conference at Thursday.

The event, organised by business daily Handelsblatt in Düsseldorf, was monitored by Kallanish.

“Europe’s steel production will more and more depend on the decarbonisation process at mills,” Adam noted. “We feel a strong sense of responsibility to decarbonise our operations and we need to do this right now and not in ten years’ time. The future is being shaped today.”

Tata Steel’s goal is to reduce its CO2 emissions in Europe by 30-40% by 2030 and to produce CO2-neutral steel by 2050, Adam said. “Our other task is to produce steel which is stronger, lasts longer and needs fewer raw materials. However, global CO2 emissions have more than doubled in the last 50 years and we as the steel industry are responsible for 7% of these emissions,” he added.

Steelmaking decarbonisation will require hydrogen and electricity. “However, hydrogen technology is still very expensive and has not yet gone beyond the level of small pilot plants. And high energy prices right now make production unprofitable,” the executive observed. “Due to these reasons, we are also regarding the options to increase the amount of scrap we use in steel production.”

Another technology that will take effect in the coming years is carbon capture, utilisation and storage. “We see this as a transition solution until we have other technologies we can use, like hydrogen and direct reduction,” Adam said.

The steel industry must also improve the supply chain and cooperate better with other industries, such as automotive, he concluded.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria