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What Is Green Steel?

Context:

Ministry of Steel seeks to reduce carbon emissions in steel industry through promotion of Green Steel.

Relevance:

GS II: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Green Steel?
  2. Significance of Green Steel for the Indian Steel Industry
  3. Status of Steel Production in India

What is Green Steel?

  • Green Steel refers to the manufacturing of steel without the use of fossil fuels. The production of steel is one of the most carbon-intensive industrial activities globally.
  • Green Steel can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut costs and improve the quality of steel.

Methods of Production:

  • Substituting primary production processes with cleaner alternatives, such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), low-carbon hydrogen, and direct electrification through electrolysis of iron ore.
Substituting primary production processes:
  • The traditional carbon-intensive manufacturing route of steel involves the use of coal-fired plants.
  • Green Steel, on the other hand, uses low-carbon energy sources, such as hydrogen, coal gasification, or electricity, which are cleaner alternatives.
  • Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is another alternative that involves capturing CO2 emissions from the production of steel and storing them underground.
Low-carbon hydrogen:
  • Low-carbon hydrogen (blue hydrogen and green hydrogen) is an alternative to fossil fuels and can help reduce the steel industry’s carbon footprint.
  • Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas with CCUS technology, while green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power.
Direct Electrification:
  • Direct electrification through electrolysis of iron ore is another alternative method of producing Green Steel.
  • This method uses electricity to remove oxygen from iron ore, which results in the production of pure iron.
  • The use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity can help reduce the carbon footprint of this method.

Significance of Green Steel for the Indian Steel Industry

  • The steel industry in India is a major contributor to carbon emissions due to its intensive energy and resource use.
  • As per the commitments made at the COP26 climate change conference, the Indian steel industry needs to substantially reduce its emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
  • Green Steel production can play a crucial role in achieving these targets.

Status of Steel Production in India

  • India is currently the second-largest producer of crude steel in the world, producing 120 Million Tonnes (MT) crude steel during the financial year 2021-2022.
  • More than 80% of the country’s reserves are in the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and the northern regions of Andhra Pradesh. Important steel-producing centers are Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Durgapur (West Bengal), Burnpur (West Bengal), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Rourkela (Odisha), and Bokaro (Jharkhand).
  • India is also the second-largest consumer of finished steel in the world, consuming 106.23 MT of finished steel in 2021, preceded by China as the largest steel consumer, as per the World Steel Association.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB


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