Green steel needs to become cost-competitive

Resolving cost-related challenges will be key to decarbonising the steel industry and advancing the adoption of green steel, according to panellists at the Kallanish Green Steel Forum held in London on Tuesday.

“The only way to successfully decarbonise steel is to make green steel [cost] competitive,” says Giacomo Mareschi Danieli, ceo of Danieli Group.

Luciana Filizzola, director of sustainability and communications at Germany-based GMH Gruppe notes that high electricity costs in Europe hinder investments in climate-neutral technologies. Calling electricity prices in Germany a near “nightmare,” she adds that the current prices in the country are nearly five times higher when compared to countries like the US and China.

Moreover, only around 40% of the electricity currently produced in Germany is renewable, she says, adding, “We need much more renewable energy—this is a very tough problem for us.”

“Unfortunately, when we look ahead, we see the prices will continue to be high because soon, the primary routes will need green hydrogen, [which] needs green electricity, so demand is huge,” Filizzola explains. “We have no answers yet on where the renewable energy is coming from. This is very worrying.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Julian Verden, managing director of Europe at Stemcor Group and EUROMETAL board member, highlights the disconnect between end-users’ interest in green steel and the high costs of hydrogen technology, hindering the fuel’s widespread adoption in the steel industry.

“In Europe, if the average cost today [for hot rolled coil] is around, say €700-800, the cost for a pure hydrogen green might be €1,000 more—that’s really unaffordable,” he notes.

“What we need to do is persuade governments to provide electricity subsidies but also to provide the investment so that more money can be brought into technologies, which, although advancing very well, is still not there yet,” Verden adds. “Unless we can resolve that problem [of cost], we are not going to get anywhere.”

At the same time, Åsa Ekdahl, head of environment and climate change at the World Steel Association, stresses that while hydrogen will play a major role in decarbonising the steel industry, it is important not to forget other technologies. For example, electrolysis of iron ore, which, although less developed, “will have potential in the future.”

“In some places, biomass could be important, such as in Brazil. But there are also, combinations of these technologies that you can use,” she adds.

Reethu Ravi UK