Scrap supply falls short for green steel

While using scrap is a key route to decarbonise the steel sector, there will not be enough of the material to produce the required amount of “green” steel in the future, industry experts have warned.

They were speaking at the Kallanish Green Steel Forum held in London this week.

“There’s just not going to be enough scrap to produce the amount of green steel that we want,” said Julian Verden, managing director Europe at Stemcor Group and EUROMETAL board member.

While the UK, for instance, produces 12 million tonnes of scrap, around 8mt of it is exported, he said. If, as planned, Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks shifts from blast furnace-basic oxygen furnace steelmaking to scrap-EAF steelmaking, less scrap will be available for export. Similar changes are being seen elsewhere.

“There isn’t going to be enough scrap to move around the world,” Verden added.

Luciana Filizzola, director of sustainability and communications at GMH Gruppe, stressed the need to secure long-term scrap supply in Europe.

“We export a lot of very good scrap to Turkey, India, and to many other countries,” she said. “Why can’t we secure our scrap here in Europe? By 2030-2050 there will not be enough scrap – what are we doing exporting it? We need to keep it here.”

Germany-based GMH claims to produce green steel from almost 100% scrap melted in its electric furnace, with an ambitious target to produce CO2-neutral steel by 2039.

However, Åsa Ekdahl, head of environment and climate change at the World Steel Association, argued it is essential to use the scrap where it would be most beneficial to cut carbon emissions.

“We see the tendency that countries are wanting to restrict their exports of scrap,” Ekdahl said. “I want to make it very clear to everyone that there is no steel scrap available today that is not being used.”

“So, we have a very high collection of recycled waste, which is estimated to be about 85% – which is most of what you can find. It’s important that what we’re talking about really is moving this scrap around and we need to make sure it is used where it has the most benefit,” she concluded.

Reethu Ravi UK