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UK steel industry could expand in transition to Zero Carbon future, report reveals

The decarbonisation of the steel industry provides Britain with an opportunity to stimulate domestic production and take a lead in the new Green Industrial Revolution according to a report by Syndex UK and the Materials Processing Institute.

The new report, ‘Decarboonisation of the Steel Industry in the UK’ highlights the sectors challenges as well as opportunities in innovation as the sector looks to move towards the Net Zero 2050 target.

Although the sector faces challenges in implementing innovative working practises and technology in the context of post-covid, it is anticipated the move to Net Zero could create and support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years while cutting emissions by two-thirds. It is predicted the steel industry could grow by up to 50% to 2050, cutting the UK’s reliance on imported steel by half.

The report, authored by Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of Teesside-based innovations and research centre, the Materials Processing Institute, Stephane Portet, Head of Syndex UK and Ireland, and Marcel Spatari, Steel industry Practice of Syndex, adds that decarbonising steel requires investment and innovation in the fields of delivering greater availability of low carbon renewable energy, hydrogen technology, plus carbon capture and storage.

Chris McDonald said: “In this vital year of COP26, this paper’s ambitious but practical proposal for a DRI-hydrogen, electric arc furnace-based solution would take a decade and help Britain meet all decarbonisation milestones whilst delivering a smooth and just transition for the workforce.

“The steel industry is a special and strategic industry that underpins domestic economic activity, infrastructure and sovereign capability in any country. Britain is at a decision point and we must commit to zero carbon, high-productivity steelmaking that includes a future for steel communities.”

Stephane Portet, Head of Syndex UK and Ireland, said: “The solution proposed in this paper would maximise the use of the current assets, including the blast furnaces, but at the same time act immediately for the decarbonisation of steel making in the UK. The investment required would be limited compared to all the other solutions. It does not lock the UK into a specific technological roadmap and would allow implementation of the best technology available in the future. Finally, this would enable the production of a wide range of steel and support the development of the downstream capabilities which will be key for a transition without job losses. This simply ticks all the boxes.”

Read the full report by Materials Process Institute

Published: April 1st, 2021
Posted in News

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