Climate Change Friendly Green Steel: “Society Would Have to Accept Higher Costs”

Blast furnaces of Třinec Iron and Steel Works, Czech Republic
Blast furnaces of Třinec Iron and Steel Works, Czech Republic. By Třinecké železárny, Attribution, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Steel makers are eager to keep us informed of their efforts to find less carbon intensive ways to produce steel, though they worry production costs will have to rise.

Cleaning up steel is key to tackling climate change

Technology to make grey metal green will not be rolled out commercially until 2030s

Michael Pooler in London 6 HOURS AGO

Globally, steel is responsible for 7 per cent to 9 per cent of all direct emissions from fossil fuels, with each tonne produced resulting in an average 1.83 tonnes of CO2, according to the World Steel Association.

And as the world’s population grows, demand is only predicted to increase.

“In principle there are technology routes to lower emissions from steelmaking,” said David Clarke, head of strategy and chief technology officer at ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest producer by tonnage. The catch, he added, was that “society would have to accept higher costs of steel production”.

A well-established alternative to blast furnaces are electric arc furnaces (EAFs) that melt down scrap, instead of using raw materials. EAFs are smaller, less expensive and, because they do not consume coke, pump out less CO2 than blast furnaces. They already account for about one-quarter of global steel output.

However, renewable energy sources alone cannot meet their enormous electricity demands — enough to power a town of 100,000 people. Another limitation is the supply of scrap, while the grades produced in EAFs are often not the right quality for certain applications, like automotive.

Swedish steel group SSAB is building a €150m pilot facility, scheduled for 2020, that would make the Nordic country the first to manufacture the metal without fossil fuels.

Hydrogen produced by electrolysis from Sweden’s abundant renewable energy resources will be used to reduce ore into a product called sponge iron, which can be converted into steel through arc furnaces.

But clean hydrogen production is expensive and would require a huge expansion of renewable energy generation capacity. South Korea’s Posco and Voestalpine of Austria are pursuing similar projects, although the latter said it could take two decades to become reality.

Until then, steelmakers are taking intermediary steps. Tata’s system removes several stages of pre-processing raw materials and, if combined with the capture and storage of waste gases, the company said it could lower CO2 emissions by 80 per cent.

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/3bcbcb60-037f-11e9-99df-6183d3002ee1

Renewables rapidly fall down when you consider industrial use. If you focus on domestic use, if you squint hard enough you can produce impressive seeming numbers – “this new solar facility produces enough power for 10,000 homes!”. But when you consider that greening one large factory in Holland (or steel mill in this case) would require the same amount of electricity as 100,000 people consume, and that electricity would have to be reliable, so we are also talking about backup storage, there are a lot of factories in the world.

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Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 6:09 pm

Yeah, produce steel with an electric arc furnace powered by hamsters on wheels? It would be about as practical as using green prayer wheels.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 6:18 pm

Green steel, just like in Atlas Shrugged isn’t it?

Bryan A
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 2, 2019 7:51 am

That was the Carp Steele that everyone was forced to produce by government edict.

Lucas K
Reply to  Bryan A
January 2, 2019 11:06 am

Never Read Atlas Shrugged. Maybe I should.

Carpe steel sounds like Mao’s Great Leap Forward where people produced pig iron to make government quotas. 50 million people starved to death.

Greg
Reply to  Lucas K
January 3, 2019 12:27 am

Carbon is what make steel strong and hard. Carbon is the difference between iron and steel.

Next greens will be demanding we start using “carbon free” steel which can go along with their “carbon free” sugar.

Jim
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 3, 2019 6:04 am

I’ll be building my railroad with Rearden Metal anyway.

Wiliam Haas
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 6:58 pm

Hamsters give off a lot of CO2 and methane for that matter. Hamsters require a lot of care provided for by people that make use of goods and services that involve the use of fossil fuels. Hamster power is not green enough.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Wiliam Haas
January 1, 2019 8:10 pm

Is that before or after spit-roasting?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Wiliam Haas
January 2, 2019 6:45 am

And hamsters drive those silly little cars.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 8:24 pm

“society would have to accept higher costs of steel production”.

np. If the greens want “cleaner” steel of course they can pay for it.:)

Roger

http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

Gaz
Reply to  Roger
January 2, 2019 2:25 pm

Recycled rainbow warrior??

Pft
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 8:48 pm

Powered by nuclear works

Charles Higley
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 9:17 pm

I am looking forward to the day when they realize that CO2’s effects on climate are either zero or negligible and undetectable. All efforts to decrease emissions is an effort to starve the world’s plants of their plant food, CO2. It’s a joke to design any policy with the goal of decreasing emissions. We need more CO2 not less. We should be finding cheaper, more efficient means for manufacturing, but to make things more expensive is laughable. More than likely, their “green” steel is not so green and actually takes more energy in one form or another.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Charles Higley
January 2, 2019 5:22 am

Well said. They start with the psuedo-science mythology of human-induced “climate catastrophe” that there is absolutely NO empirical evidence of, and extrapolate that into “higher cost everything” being “necessary.”

If the EU and anyone else is stupid enough to “require” more expensive steel, the U.S. should simply take advantage of this non-competitive behavior by revitalizing its own steel industry, using conventional methods of power production. Higher costs, especially unnecessary higher costs, will always end up the loser.

Gord in Calgary
Reply to  AGW is not Science
January 4, 2019 9:19 am

If we were to look at the earth and ask what could we do to engineer a better planet I’m sure the answer would be increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Verslues
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 1, 2019 9:32 pm

Green steel like Green energy is 99% pretend, unless you go nuclear. If you go nuclear the environmental wackos will have a meltdown!

Reply to  Verslues
January 2, 2019 1:34 am

Verslues
“If you go nuclear the environmental wackos will have a meltdown!”
Now that is a worthwhile feature!

Auto

AGW is not Science
Reply to  auto
January 2, 2019 5:58 am

It’s a pun AND a feature! Win-win!

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 2, 2019 4:00 am

and the steel mills i know run 24/7 so if they cant gtee power theres going to be a lot of ruined equipment if the steel cools due to power outages

Alan Robertson
Reply to  ozspeaksup
January 2, 2019 6:09 am

No worries. Put this in the same category as “fusion energy in 30 years”, etc.
“…it could take two decades to become reality.”

Vaporgear.

Catcracking
Reply to  ozspeaksup
January 2, 2019 10:17 am

Thermal cycles are deadly for the design of the furnaces, the refractory life would be severely reduced

Donald Kasper
January 1, 2019 6:14 pm

“Two decades to become reality” means the technology is shit or does not exist but people done with dreaming about upcoming fusion reactors are on the latest green tech. Carbon capture does not exist. It does not even remotely exist. You inject it, it fouls the well very fast, in days to months. All bullshit and dreams, but the very high cost of the new tech they know with certainty. Probably the only thing they actually know, namely, they need a lot of money to work on the new tech, but the promise big success before they retire, honest.

leowaj
January 1, 2019 6:15 pm

Take the same thought experiment and apply it to, say, a regional hospital. I’ve actually been thinking about this. Hospitals typically have their own fleet of generators that kick in when the electricity goes out. What happens when a hospital has “gone green”, eliminated its fleet of generators, and the electricity goes out?

Hold on, let’s not jump into a dire scenario so quickly. How about this– if a hospital goes all green, or if the city it’s in goes all green, how does the hospital continue to provide the same services it has always provided? How will it keep costs down so that the poorest of the populace don’t suffer? How will it grow to include new life-saving or life-improving services? At the root of all these questions is energy. Just like steel mills need tons energy to produce so too does a hospital. The only difference here is that the sum of the cost increases in steel production is inflation– annoying but correctable– whereas the sum of the cost increases in hospital services is increased human suffering.

Not acceptable.

lee
Reply to  leowaj
January 1, 2019 6:28 pm

In Australia, the three hospitals in the Melbourne CBD, consumed 138 GWh in 2011. As at 2015 Australia’s renewable energy, including the longstanding hydro, was 35 GWh.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  lee
January 1, 2019 8:20 pm

Kind of puts things in perspective – thanks!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  lee
January 1, 2019 9:02 pm

All my adult family here in Aus work in the medical industry, either directly as a registered nurse in hospitals or some other special care areas or are still training. I am not sure they are aware at how “on the brink” the power supply in their care industry is.

I myself have been on the receiving end of very specialist care in hospital. I shudder to think if I was in “surgery” with the specialist Dr. using a multi-million dollar machine being powered with unreliable power!! Well I know solar was not an option as my surgery was at night. So would have to have relied on wind, powering the rest of the hospital at that time too? Or batteries?

No. I thank coal. Coal saved my life. Well no, my wife saved my life. Coal was just a resource we know powers modern health care systems. All of them! Even early health care products, Knights Coal Tar Soap and even early asparin.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 2, 2019 4:06 am

Im in a small Vic rural town, our power either drops out or is cut off in fire risk times
our small hospital has huge gensets and we dont even do surgery here.
our water is bore and limited so theyve now installed two massive tanks for firefighting also
because if the powers out the town water is off as well

Ve2
Reply to  lee
January 2, 2019 1:19 am

When faced with those figures the only reply you would get from a Green is “which three hospitals”

Catcracking
Reply to  leowaj
January 2, 2019 10:20 am

Would solve the alleged over population problem fast

D. Anderson
January 1, 2019 6:20 pm

“A well-established alternative to blast furnaces are electric arc furnaces (EAFs) that melt down scrap, instead of using raw materials”

That is called recycling old steel. Which is a wonderful thing to do with old steel. But do we have all the steel in the world that we need so that we don’t have to make new steel from raw materials?

If not then electric arc recycling isn’t an “alternative” to blast furnaces.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 1, 2019 6:56 pm

Once sufficient H2 is produced it can be used as a fuel that does not result in CO2.
But making the H2 requires energy, so that has to be solar, wind, nuke; and not coal.
In any case, the H2 is not part of the iron or steel, so no embrittlement.

R Shearer
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
January 1, 2019 7:23 pm

The cheapest way to produce large quantities of hydrogen is via steam methane reforming. Also, carbon is a necessary component of steel.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  R Shearer
January 1, 2019 8:30 pm

Yep. Carbon steel is arguably the most important type of steel made. Carbon steel can be segregated into three main categories: Low carbon steel (a.k.a. mild steel); Medium carbon steel; and High carbon steel.

Low carbon steel (Mild steel): Typically contains 0.04% to 0.30% carbon content. This is one of the largest groups of carbon steel. It covers a great diversity of shapes; from flat sheet to structural beam. Depending on the desired properties needed, other elements are added or increased. For example: Drawing Quality (DQ) – The carbon level is kept low and aluminum is added, and for structural steel the carbon level is higher and the manganese content is increased.

Medium carbon steel: Typically has a carbon range of 0.31% to 0.60%, and a manganese content ranging from .060% to 1.65%. This product is stronger than low carbon steel, and it is more difficult to form, weld and cut. Medium carbon steels are quite often hardened and tempered using heat treatment.

High carbon steel: Commonly known as “carbon tool steel” it typically has a carbon range between 0.61% and 1.50%. High carbon steel is very difficult to cut, bend and weld. Once heat treated it becomes extremely hard and brittle.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  R Shearer
January 1, 2019 10:38 pm

Hardening and tempering. Hardening carbon steel is easy. Tempering hardened steel has colour ranges and IIRC a “brown” colour gave you steel you could use as a “chisel” (And I did), blue was “spring steel” and many in between.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  R Shearer
January 1, 2019 11:06 pm

Steam / Methane reforming produces CO2

CH4 + 2H2O = 4H2 + CO2

You never see the proponents of Hydrogen powered vehicles mention that the most common (cheapest) method of producing Hydrogen also produces CO2 !

But of course environmentally responsible Hydrogen producers will of course go the electrolysis route (/sarc).

Not if you want to maximise your profits from Hydrogen production.

Catcracking
Reply to  R Shearer
January 2, 2019 7:15 pm

Absolutely correct but Steam reformers also produce a lot of CO2, it could be counterproductive and produce more than it saves?

ATheoK
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
January 2, 2019 2:55 am

“John F. Hultquist January 1, 2019 at 6:56 pm
Once sufficient H2 is produced it can be used as a fuel that does not result in CO2.
But making the H2 requires energy, so that has to be solar, wind, nuke; and not coal.
In any case, the H2 is not part of the iron or steel, so no embrittlement.”

Not quite John. While, I suspect the writer of the article is grabbing vague concepts and force fitting them into a green dream, there are strong hints in the author’s process order.

“Hydrogen produced by electrolysis from Sweden’s abundant renewable energy resources will be used to reduce ore into a product called sponge iron, which can be converted into steel through arc furnaces.”

A reducing flame is well known when dealing with metals. From jewelry through plumbing to refining or welding metals.
A reduction flame means supplying an excess of hydrogen. Excess hydrogen in the flame reduces iron oxide to iron by removing oxygen. Yes, the result is water.

Flushing excess hydrogen through rusty piles of recycled steels and iron as the metals are roasted removes oxygen from iron oxide leaving a product similar to sponge iron.

But excess hydrogen introduced to iron does mean using hydrogen directly, not as a neutral clean flame.
To produce clean iron or steel, that excess hydrogen must be stripped from the sponge iron as part of the refining process.

The article fails to mention any of the other problems with scrap metals. Modern scrap metals are a motley collection of metals. A number of which are contaminants to precision or industrial steel uses.

There is another consideration when the word electrolysis is used in association with metals. Electrolysis if frequently used for refining a number of metals; copper, silver, gold, precious metals. One wonders if they’re thinking of purifying scrap steels through electroplating?

AGW is not Science
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
January 2, 2019 5:43 am

Once “sufficient H2 is produced,” you have expended more energy to produce it (and compress and store it) than would in oil drilling and refining into much more practical fossil fuels (gasoline, diesel fuel, etc.). If you think all that energy is going to come from windmills and solar panels, you’re a sucker. If you get it from nuclear, it’s not from “renewables,” not that “renewables” are necessary or practical. And the energy, in particular, HEAT needed for steel production will still need to come from fossil fuels, no matter how the electricity is generated; anything else is an expensive boondoggle.

Hydrogen is not, and never will be, a “fuel,” because Hydrogen is the “Elizabeth Taylor” of elements – it’s always “married” to something else. The “divorce” and subsequent containment difficulties will cost you more than the alternatives.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  AGW is not Science
January 2, 2019 6:02 am

Oh and P.S. – the production of “hydrogen fuel” probably requires more energy to produce the fuel than will be recovered from burning it. Which is why it is generally impractical, and especially so if you intend to do it with “renewables.”

D. Anderson
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 1, 2019 7:11 pm

If the article was comparing blast furnaces with the hydrogen process for making steel from raw materials, then bringing up recycling was a distracted. At least it obviously distracted me.

Ve2
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 2, 2019 1:23 am

Or an 86 story apartment building.

Catcracking
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 2, 2019 10:27 am

There is an un economical process called FIOR (Fluidized Iron Ore Reduction) that turns Iron Ore into an equivalent to scrap metal for steel production. Tough to compete with scrap metal. The only one I know that was in operation was in Venezuela, probably closed by socialist incompetence.
I consulted on several of these plants.

Catcracking
Reply to  Catcracking
January 2, 2019 7:29 pm

some links of interest:
https://scinapse.io/papers/2097609813

Patrick MJD
January 1, 2019 6:25 pm

For every tonne of “pig iron” (That is what is produced from a blast furnace and is used to make steel) you need 25 tonnes of ore and 5 tonnes of coking coal. Then that iron will need further smelting to make mild steel. Then if you want to harden that steel you need to add carbon, typically 5% IIRC. Then if you want stainless steel you need to add chromium.

Not sure these people know what they are talking about.

Truly pie in the sky stuff.

Menicholas
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 1, 2019 7:42 pm

304 stainless, which is a relatively low grade and not suitable for many applications, is 19% chromium and about 10% nickel, and 2% manganese. It is not truly stainless, and will rust in say a dishwasher when used to make knives, and will corrode completely in salt water or other highly corrosive environments.

Higher grades of stainless like 316, also known as surgical stainless, which is a marine grade and after passivating is virtually impervious to corrosion under most circumstances, has slightly less chromium but more nickel, plus has about 2.5% molybdenum and similar MN as 304.
All have small amounts of various other elements.
Last time I checked, moly was fetching over $16,000/ton. Nickel about half that 9IOW…too expensive to actually make nickels out of). Chromium is somewhere in between, somewhere north of $13,000/ton.
Stainless steel is a different animal, pricewise, than steel.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Menicholas
January 1, 2019 8:29 pm

Totally. Many people think stainless can’t rust or corrode, it certainly can and does depending on the grade as you say and application, just not as readily as mild steel.

Back in the 80’s (UK) there was a short trend to have a stainless landrover chassis made to replace the, usually, rotting factory item. It was quickly dropped in favour of a mild steel chassis hot dipped galvanised. In fact almost all steel items for a landrover restore these days can be supplied galvanised. In my restore, or rather rebuild project, I had the chassis bead blasted the hot metal sprayed, reduced potential warping.

But to get to any steel at all you need pig iron to start with, using a blast furnace, and then the various alloys can be made.

I don’t recall who “invented” stainless but I know he was trying to make something else and made a mistake.

It’s a while since I made my own tools/componets requiring different grades of steel.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 1, 2019 9:48 pm

The version I heard for the discovery of stainless steel is that a gunsmith was testing different alloys of steel for rifle barrels. He deemed one batch as too soft and threw it on his scrap pile. Later he noticed it had not rusted like all the other scraps.

SR

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 2, 2019 7:52 am

A man by the name of Harry Brearley is considered the inventor of the industrial use of Stainless steel, and yes, it was while looking for new alloys for rifle barrels, in 1912. The history of Stainless Steel is a truly fascinating one.

markl
January 1, 2019 6:25 pm

Let me see if I understand this correctly. Smelting steel on a large scale only using so called “renewable energy”. Right? I predict a waste of time and money to find out what they already know ….. it will be extremely inefficient but possible. Also, how the equipment/steel be made to attempt this folly? Virtue signaling on steroids.

Rich Davis
Reply to  markl
January 2, 2019 3:58 am

It will work just like the various failed solar power factories such as Solyndra. A well-connected crony will receive many millions of dollars in government-insured loans. While the money lasts, the cronies will make some obscene salary while hiring naive kids to work for them saving the planet and getting paid next to nothing. As soon as the loans run out, the cronies may arrange to get a government bailout, but failing that, they will move on to their next scam and leave their employees out of work. The bankers will collect every last penny from the government.

davidmhoffer
January 1, 2019 6:38 pm

Hydrogen produced by electrolysis from Sweden’s abundant renewable energy resources… But clean hydrogen production is expensive”

Win is free, except when you use it, then it is expensive.

Read that over and over again until it makes sense.

davidmhoffer
Reply to  davidmhoffer
January 1, 2019 6:42 pm

Wind not Win.
I hate my fingers. They keep on typing what I tell them to instead of what I want them to.

LdB
Reply to  davidmhoffer
January 1, 2019 8:21 pm

There is a little backdrop to the story which any greenie will ignore.

On 2016 figures Sweden uses 139TWh of power it produced 149TWh (export 12TWh) and of that 61TWh comes from nuclear reactors (slated to run until at least 2040) and 61TWh from Hydro … so that is 122TWh that isn’t renewable (I am using the standard greenie convention that hydro is not renewable).

Sidebar ==> So 87% of there power use is NOT from renewables and any country can stabilize a grid from that.

Now if you are diverting excess renewable energy into making the Hydrogen it’s free as you have to do something with the energy anyhow be it idle the wind or solar farms or whatever. However the moment you make hydrogen a on demand thing you need storage and that gets very expensive because you basically move the energy required into the “Sweden uses” column and it has to be covered when the wind and sun aren’t working. So yes it’s free until you use it, that statement is correct 🙂

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  davidmhoffer
January 1, 2019 9:07 pm

“Hydrogen produced by electrolysis from Sweden’s abundant renewable energy resources…”

Let’s examine this statement. Sweden’s leading energy source is bioenergy, and the leading source of Sweden’s bioenergy is forest residue. So Sweden burns huge quantities of wood chips (releasing huge quantities of CO2) to generate electricity. The electricity is used to make hydrogen which is then used in a process that produces crappy steel and only releases slightly less CO2 than the traditional steel making process.

Brilliant! How green is that really? But wait, there’s more: “But clean hydrogen production is expensive and would require a huge expansion of renewable energy generation capacity.” Translation: they’re going to have to burn a whole lot more wood chips to produce ‘clean hydrogen’.

You can’t make this sh!t up.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
January 1, 2019 9:09 pm

Minor correction: Sweden’s leading renewable energy source is bioenergy.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
January 1, 2019 10:24 pm

So, you are talking crap, nes’t pas?

tty
Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
January 2, 2019 3:16 am

Correction. Sweden’s main renewable energy source is hydro, which produces about half of all electricity. Biofuel (mostly forestry waste and garbage) is used on a large scale for hot water production (area heating). It also produces a minor amount of electricity (usually less than 5%). Local garbage is now insufficient, so Sweden actually imports large amounts of garbage.

The rest of the electrical power is almost all nuclear. And once the greens have managed to close this down by taxes and regulation (they are getting close) there will be a major power crisis and large-scale import will be needed. So, no abundant renewable energy in sight.

Yes, there is wind and solar, which has done less damage to system stability here than elsewhere since hydro can be used for balancing while nuclear provides reliable despatchable power. This will not be possible once nuclear closes down.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
January 2, 2019 4:14 am

I thought sweden was taking in all the EUs rubbish to hitemp burn for energy?

Wiliam Haas
January 1, 2019 6:41 pm

To make steel without the use of fossil fuels one must also transport the raw materials with transportation devices that are not made using fossil fuels, that do not make use of fossil fuels in any way for the required energy they expend and that do not ride on surfaces whose manufacture involved the use of fossil fuels. Workers cannot wear any clothes or foot wear that were at any time transported via the use of fossil fuels and they cannot eat any food that is transported by truck. Recycling cannot be allowed because the recycled steel was originally made by the use of fossil fuels. … It is almost impossible to make steel entirely without the use of fossil fuels. But in terms of climate all of this does not matter because the AGW conjecture is science fiction and the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Wiliam Haas
January 2, 2019 6:11 am

Well said, and amazing how blind to the ubiquitous nature of fossil fuels all of the deluded “greens” really are.

clipe
January 1, 2019 6:43 pm
Craig from Oz
January 1, 2019 6:43 pm

Make steel production in the West more expense and the West will find it cheaper to buy their steel from China.

Society is NOT going to accept the higher costs unless you completely start controlling the society.

Also the good old ‘Home’ as a unit of measure. Anyone able to provide me with the conversion tables? How many Homes to the Small Business? Or to Corner Shop?

LdB
Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 1, 2019 8:23 pm

Yep you already saw that happen in OZ with steel. Funny how China gets a free ride until 2030 isn’t it and anyone who doesn’t know what will happen in 2030 is a fool.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  LdB
January 1, 2019 8:44 pm

The Chinese will just continue with their free pass to “pollute”? Of course, we now have “fake steel” from China, probably mixed with egg fried rice.

John Endicott
Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 2, 2019 5:48 am

Exactly, Just look at the history of steel in the US. As steel got more expensive to make here in the states, less of it was made here and more of it was imported from elsewhere. Green steel means making steel somewhere else on the planet that doesn’t have green steel.

Lancifer
January 1, 2019 6:53 pm

“Tata’s system removes several stages of pre-processing raw materials and, if combined with the capture and storage of waste gases, the company said it could lower CO2 emissions by 80 per cent.”

And if I drank my own urine and ate my own feces I could reduce my ecological impact by 80% and it would be about as useful as this idiotic proposal.

R Shearer
Reply to  Lancifer
January 1, 2019 7:26 pm

There are ways to recover steel off gases for fermentation to produce alcohols, for example. LanzaTech is one company that licenses technology for this.

Menicholas
Reply to  R Shearer
January 1, 2019 7:48 pm

All the best liquor should have at least some smelter condensate in it!
Mmmm mmm!
Puts hair on your chest, as me pappy used to say.
Unfortunately, it also quickly dissolves it right back off.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  R Shearer
January 1, 2019 9:37 pm

So if Lancifer develops the technology to make urine and feces palatable, he can license that as well…

William
January 1, 2019 7:20 pm

Well, what do you expect. This is from Sweden.
This is the land of the “Flying Swede” (look that one up), and the victim of rape who said it is OK to be raped by a Muslim because “they don’t know any better”. (Look up the news interview)
I have come to the point that when I feel bored and in the need of a good laugh, I go online to the Swedish news sites. They are better than going to the movies.

R Shearer
Reply to  William
January 1, 2019 7:32 pm

They’ll now be able to behead with locally sourced scimitars.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  R Shearer
January 1, 2019 8:40 pm

They now use a car (Vehicle) for that? Oh wait…

HotScot
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 2, 2019 3:25 am

Patrick MJD

Not many will get that one mate.

Reliant on local petrol head knowledge. 🙂

Wharfp
January 1, 2019 7:26 pm

There is one problem with zero carbon (sic) steel. Trump. Once that problem is resolved then it’s Katie bar the door.

R Shearer
January 1, 2019 7:29 pm

The cheapest way to produce large quantities of hydrogen is via steam methane reforming. Also, carbon is a necessary component of steel.

Michael Bentley
January 1, 2019 7:42 pm

Well folks, here in Pueblo, CO, US of A, the steel mill in town just signed a contract with an electric company, Excell, that includes the building of a solar farm on the mill’s property. This to power the furnace. Hummm, wonder how that’s going to turn out. By the way, I’m told this is the only Steel Mill in the US (owned by a Russian company) that makes railroad rails as well as tube stock for oil production.

Menicholas
Reply to  Michael Bentley
January 1, 2019 7:51 pm

Probably use it for the pilot light.

Global Cooling
January 1, 2019 9:02 pm

Same message here: oligarchs need more, deplorables should pay.

Chris Hanley
January 1, 2019 9:15 pm

Renewables rapidly fall down when you consider industrial use …
=========================================
Indeed the idea of 50% let alone 100% wind and/or solar is preposterous, those things can’t even reproduce themselves — without supplying the rest of a modern economy as well.
You would think that fact would be immediately intuitively obvious to anyone of average intelligence.

Tarquin Wombat-Carruthers
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 2, 2019 1:54 am

My next solar panel will be produced by a future solar panel wind turbine! Yeah, right!

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 2, 2019 6:24 am

You would think, but most people aren’t paying attention to anything but their propaganda pushing “news” feeds and/or propaganda pushing “newspapers.”

Jim G.
January 1, 2019 9:27 pm

Ahhh, from the people who brought you RoHS with lead free solder.

We now present sCRAPSTEEL.
No, it’s not as good as the original, but hey, what could go wrong?
Our models demonstrate that sCRAPSTEEL will have a .25% safety margin.

And if you buy now, you will receive one free tin-whisker goatee.
But wait, if you act in the next sixty seconds, we will send you a second
tin-whisker goatee at no addition charge.*

*Just pay an additional $9.95 for shipping and handling.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Jim G.
January 1, 2019 9:37 pm

Lead free solder! Sheesh! Where the flux shorts!

William
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 1, 2019 10:09 pm

Ha! I stocked up on a couple of cases of 60/40 lead solder a couple of years ago.
None of that poncie soy boy lead free c**p in my workshop!
Now, when I feel in the need of a bit of smug superiority, I sell some to friends who come begging.
I have to admit, it does give me that feeling of superiority. Gotta get it where you can….

Patrick MJD
Reply to  William
January 1, 2019 10:22 pm

High five to that!

LdB
Reply to  William
January 1, 2019 11:18 pm

All of us none CE countries can still buy it and use it … lucky we aren’t so developed 🙂

Michael Blythe
January 1, 2019 9:52 pm

google “coldry” a lower emissions steel making process using lignite as the reductant

LdB
Reply to  Michael Blythe
January 1, 2019 11:25 pm

All I see is an experimental process that has been around for 20 years and gone nowhere.

The supposed development company ASX: ECT is currently listed at 1 cent Australian … oh yeah the old penny hopeful investment.

Did I miss something?

Hivemind
Reply to  Michael Blythe
January 2, 2019 3:10 am

Isn’t lignite a type of coal? So it’s steel made without coal, just using… um, coal?

John Endicott
Reply to  Michael Blythe
January 2, 2019 9:16 am

Michael Blythe: google “coldry” a lower emissions steel making process using lignite as the reductant

coldry is a process to remove the moisture from “brown” coal (aka lignite) to make it more like higher grade coal (which naturally contain less moisture than “brown” coal). the emissions of the “coldry” processed coal, as far as I can see, are close to the same as Bituminous coal (which is lower than the emissions of normal lignite would be). As Coking coal is typically Bituminous coal not lignite, I’m not seeing how using “coldry” coal in steel making would result in any lowering of emissions.

Hivemind: Isn’t lignite a type of coal? So it’s steel made without coal, just using… um, coal?

It’s steel made using a lower grade coal that has been processed to produce emissions equivalent to the normally higher grade of coal that is typically used to make steel. In short, it’s not a “lower emissions steel making process” it’s just a process to lower the emissions of lower grade coal.

January 1, 2019 11:46 pm

All of these ideas for making steel less carbon based, but steel needs car bon to become steel as against being just soft iron.

Anyway why bother about how much or how little CO2 is emitted, we need CO2, lots and lots of it, to continue to make Planet Earth nice and green, thus being able to feed the semi starving billons out there.
Its long overdue that we have a campaign that says CO2 s GOOD, GOOD and GOOD..

MJE

HotScot
Reply to  Michael
January 2, 2019 3:32 am

Michael

Beginning of January and my grass needs cut, again.

I’ll have to go to all the bother of watching the wife do it.

Pesky CO2!

Johann Wundersamer
January 2, 2019 12:00 am

The “carbon cap and trade” schemes are literally trade with thin air.

every one of this trades have one winner: the stock market.

While the real economy tries to achieve a realistic price at auctions, the stock market earns with electronic speed banking every second during the trading cycle.

This electronic money is stored electronically and thus withdrawn from the real economy.

All that is achieved is currency devaluation, inflation.

Johann Wundersamer
January 2, 2019 12:13 am

The “carbon cap and trade” schemes are literally trade with thin air.

every one of this trades have one winner: the stock market.

While the real economy tries to achieve a realistic price at auctions, the stock market earns with electronic speed banking every second during the trading cycle.

This electronic money is stored electronically and thus withdrawn from the real economy.

All that is achieved is currency devaluation, inflation.

Of course the stock market arguments we do customer service and that has it’s price.

But it’s a service no one needs.

E J Zuiderwijk
January 2, 2019 1:42 am

What about green concrete? Concrete production is good for 10% of CO2 production wordwide.
Oh, wait: back to using wood as construction material. But that would require lumberjacks in forests. Oh dear! Oh wait again: using straw, that’ s it, surely. But there’s not enough land to grow it on. Sigh! Back to living in caves, then.

tty
Reply to  E J Zuiderwijk
January 2, 2019 3:47 am

Actually most of that CO2 is ultimately re-absorbed by the concrete, though it might take a few centuries.

So it is actually approximately as “sustainable” as cutting down forests to make wood chips for power production.

Tarquin Wombat-Carruthers
January 2, 2019 1:55 am

My next solar panel will be produced by a future solar panel wind turbine! Yeah, right!

Alasdair
January 2, 2019 2:24 am

In days of yore green steel was wood; but it wasn’t very satisfactory.
Go hug a tree Michael Pooler and ponder upon the costs of harvesting energy.

Perhaps it would be better if you turned your research to finding a vaccine for the “Satanic CO2 Meme” (SCO2M) virus which seems to afflict you.

tty
Reply to  Alasdair
January 2, 2019 3:52 am

“In days of yore green steel was wood”

More true than you know. Iron (and steel) could only be made with charcoal which is much purer than ordinary coal. Until the forests ran out.

British ironmaking collapsed in the 17th century and only revived in the 19th when the coking process was invented, making it possible to make iron/steel with ordinary coal

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  tty
January 2, 2019 5:34 am

The old ironmaking process required roughly 1.25 acres of mature (25-year old) hardwood to make enough charcoal to smelt 1 ton of iron. Do the math and you need to dedicate roughly 31 acres to hardwood stands in order to “sustainably” produce 1 ton of iron per year. As you note iron production peaked while hardwood forests were disappearing.

The use of coal-fired blast furnaces starting around 1700 got around limited charcoal supplies, but issues with impurities still limited production. Improvements introduced by Henry Court around 1780 removed impurities and greatly increased both quality and quantity of iron production. By the early 19th century iron was plentiful and cheap enough to start being used for ship hulls.

British iron production went from 12,00 metric tons/year in 1700 to over two million by 1850.

tty
January 2, 2019 3:44 am

Perhaps some reality should be added to that euphoric news bulletin.

Yes, there is a project to develop a direct-reduction hydrogen-based steelmaking process in Sweden. It has been underway as a “pre-feasability study” for a few years. It is being financed half by the steel industry and power companies and half by tax money. This spring they started design of a pilot plant at a cost of €2 million. So, no they are not building any pilot plant yet, and no, it sure as hell won’t be producing steel in 2020. The (rather optimistic) target is to have a feasible industrial process by 2035, and be able to replace existing (almost new) blast furnaces when they are decommissioned in the 2040’s.

One point that is not emphasized in the press releases is that a second stage will be needed after the direct reduction where the sponge iron is remelted and mixed with coal to actually make steel. This will still require coke and emit CO2, though in much smaller quantities. The loss of combustible gases from the furnaces will also mean a significant loss of area heating and electricity production while a vast amount of electical power will be needed for hydrogen production. And incidentally Sweden’s once exceptionally reliable high-voltage network is already under severe strain due to unpredictable wind and solar.

The technical and economic challenges are therefore formidable. And the last paragraph of the Steel Industry press release announcing the start of the construction phase is worth including:

“To be able to carry out this project, however, significant national contributions are still required from the
state, research institutions and universities. There has to be good access to fossil-free electricity,
improved infrastructure and rapid expansion of high voltage networks, research initiatives, faster permit
processes and the government’s active support for pilot and demonstration facilities and long term
support at EU level.”

In short, without regulatory reform, plenty of tax money and plenty of cheap electricity, no go.

Want to bet on it?

tty
Reply to  tty
January 2, 2019 4:11 am

Correction

For “start of the construction phase” read “start of the design phase”

Peta of Newark
January 2, 2019 4:13 am

As someone who has personally used steel (in minor agricultural repairs & fabrications) but having had a family friend who uses the stuff to professionally do agricultural fabs & repairs (following from his father)..
Modern steel is junk.
Total C R A P = spell that with a capital CR4P

Modern steel that you get from stockholders in the UK comes from Cheap And Nasty Chinese recycled stuff.

It won’t cut (Attach a cutting disc to it and it behaves like cast iron and is a pig to drill)
It won’t weld properly – it doesn’t run or flux like it should (used to)- again just like cast iron.
It’s not especially malleable – where a steel bar would bend into shape, modern stuff cracks, fractures and breaks. It is ‘hard’

Worst of all it has ZERO, NIL, ZILCH, NADA corrosion resistance.
Especially noticeable in agricultural usage – wet, damp and corrosive ‘chemicals’ such as fertiliser and animal manure.
e.g. On the small farm where I was born, in the hedge along the public road on its southern side are 2 identical wrought iron steel gates. So they are hit only by agricultural chemicals but by road de-icing salt.
They will be 70 years old at least and to my knowledge and are still standing with perfect functionality.
Do we give them 100 years of possible life?
From actual experience, a modern steel farmyard gate crumbles inside 10 years -EVEN after being galvanised to try and protect them. My friend with the saws, discs, drills and welders asserts that its only the galvanising that actually holds them together.

So Mister Carbon Clever Clogs – what cost 10 of your galvanised Chinese junk gates versus just 1 ‘proper’ gate?

Well done Mr Trump for realising as much and slapping a tariff on that junk.

Apart from that one shining beacon, we truly are in an age of the lazy, dumb and buck-passing stupid.

tty
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 2, 2019 4:34 am

Recycled steel is unpredictable since you have limited control over the composition. I had a friend who was an engineer in a Swedish steelwork, and his opinion was that recycled steel was only good enough for the least demanding applications like reinforcing rods for concrete.

tty
January 2, 2019 4:45 am

And Peta, good quality wrought iron is remarkably corrosion resistant, actually much better than any ordinary steel and almost up to stainless steel quality. There are 200 year old wrought iron bridges that are still in use.

The extreme case is of course the 1600 year old Qutub Minar iron pillar:

comment image

Steve O
January 2, 2019 4:55 am

This proves that as long as a writer sticks to the right narrative, with good intentions, he can say things that are absolutely idiotic and none of the cool kids will call him out on it.

And even if this pipe dream were successful, it would lead to higher net emissions as anything that increases the price of non-Chinese steel will increase the demand for Chinese steel, made from coal-powered energy.

Jon Scott
January 2, 2019 5:22 am

The solution already is in place. European steel has been deliberately made so expensive that it can no longer compete with Indian and Chinese production, two countries which do not give a monkey’s chuff about HS&E and emissions of any kind. We are being deliberately dismantled as a scociety by the marxists and the useful idiots who flock to their cause.

Galvinator
January 2, 2019 5:25 am

The alternative would be to revert to charcoal based reductant as deployed before Abraham Darby first used coke – inspired by beer brewers! With all the extra CO2 boosting tree growth this might be an option for the future – but I have not run the numbers.

griff
January 2, 2019 6:33 am

A hydrogen steel plant is already under construction in Linz, Austria

http://www.voestalpine.com/group/en/media/press-releases/2018-04-16-H2FUTURE-on-track-construction-starts-at-the-worlds-largest-hydrogen-pilot-facility/

There is no problem finding enough renewable energy for electric scrap furnaces…

tty
Reply to  griff
January 2, 2019 7:45 am

Perhaps you should try to understand what you are reading Griff before sailing off into your green dreamland.

It isn’t a hydrogen steel plant. It is a hydrogen plant. “The worlds largest pilot plant”. Well, pilot plants usually aren’t very big, and neither is this one. 1200 cubic meters of H2 per hour (which sounds a lot more than 240 pounds) which means it is quite a small plant compared to conventional “non-green” hydrogen plants. It will need a lot of up-scaling before it can be used for steelmaking.

By the way, this is the simple part. Making hydrogen by electrolysis of water is high school chemistry. The difficult thing is doing it economically and safely on a large scale.

John Endicott
Reply to  tty
January 2, 2019 8:55 am

virtue signalers don’t need to understand, it’s enough just to signal their virtue.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  John Endicott
January 2, 2019 1:48 pm

Good one!

+1

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  griff
January 2, 2019 8:24 am

Hi Griff:

Didn’t we have this discussion before? You posted a link to a claim that Britain could become a “major” producer of recycled steel using renewable energy from tidal basins. I dug up the numbers to refute that.

In any case, scrap steel only meets a small percentage of the annual demand — the vast majority of steel production is new (primary) steel made from iron ore using coked coal.

Steel is almost 100% recyclable, but because it is so durable it takes decades before steel in typical uses becomes available again as scrap. In the case of structural steel it is somewhere between 40 and 70 years before you get 50% of it back (from memory; I haven’t verified this figure).

In the meantime, world demand for steel increases each year.

Now if you can find a more efficient process to make steel than the nearly universal Basic Oxygen Furnace method used today, you could be the next Andrew Carnegie.

HotScot
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 2, 2019 3:16 pm

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Griff, churning out regurgitated tripe? Never……….

I though he had written to Anthony in a hissy fit telling him he was never contributing to this blog again because he was disrespected.

I wonder why.

John Endicott
Reply to  griff
January 2, 2019 8:50 am

Griff, as tty pointed out, that article doesn’t say what you claim it says. They’re building a pilot hydrogen plant, not a “hydrogen steel” plant. They plan to use it to “to research into future breakthrough technologies” while that includes testing “the potential applications for green hydrogen in the various process stages of steel production” that’s not it’s only purpose and that suggests that such application and technologies are “still to come” (potential, not actual) IE they haven’t yet been invented/worked out (in short, we are talking *vaporware* at this moment in time). Don’t count your green chickens before they hatch.

MarkW
Reply to  John Endicott
January 2, 2019 2:08 pm

But, they used steel to build the plant.

Curious George
January 2, 2019 7:34 am

Steel? Let’s worry about cement as well…

Bruce Cobb
January 2, 2019 8:45 am

Next up, “green glass”. Oh wait, they already make that, in Mexico. Lovely green tint, lots of bubbles. If you like that sort of thing. Oh wait, they do use fossil fuels to make it. Never mind.

StephanA
January 2, 2019 9:09 am

A blast furnace is used to take raw ore and convert it to steel. An arc furnace can only melt scrap, and scrap is very scarce right now. I live in a steel town and the glow of the blast furnaces Turning mountains of coal and ore into steel is a very good sight. I spent many a night sitting around the mill waiting for the power company to give us the go ahead to bring an arc furnace online once the days load shrunk enough to allow us to do a melt.

hunter
January 2, 2019 11:08 am

When nothing works to solve a problem, the rational thing to do is to question the the problem.

yarpos
January 2, 2019 12:16 pm

Funny how in solving this global non problem, its always the people who can least afford it who have to accept the additional costs. Meanwhile the astronomically wealthy push down wages, and fly around the world telling people how to live, while taking their % from the AGW scam at every turn.

Its gets more like Elysium every day. I guess that whole France thing never made it to the Elite News Network?

beng135
January 2, 2019 1:25 pm

Green steel? Great! That was Reardon’s advanced steel product in Atlas Shrugged.

ResourceGuy
January 2, 2019 1:31 pm

Just for scale reference….

WSJ
“Mr. Deng, who died in 1997, never got to see how big. At the time of his visit to Japan, China produced 4% of the world’s steel. This year, China is on track to produce more than half, a record 923 million metric tons, according to government estimates. It overtook the U.S. in steel production in 1993, sped past Japan in 1996 and last year produced three times as much steel as the U.S., Russia and Japan combined. Steel made its shipbuilding and auto-making industries into the world’s largest.”

DMA
January 2, 2019 3:16 pm

“Globally, steel is responsible for 7 per cent to 9 per cent of all direct emissions from fossil fuels”
The most important piece of information we need to consider here is that fossil fuel CO2 is not controlling atmospheric CO2 and our emissions are a tiny part of the whole. This fact has been before the public and climate communities for years but is completely ignored by the IPCC to accept the indefensible assumption that all recent growth in atmospheric CO2 is due to human activities. This article would be rightly recognized as moot if the facts were widely known. Start here (https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/contradictions-to-ipccs-climate-change-theory/) for an easy introduction to the physics involved. Then study Harde 2017 and the laughable treatment he got at (https://hhgpc0.wixsite.com/harde-2017-censored). Then consider the several video lectures by Murry Salby. Go on to see the statistical analysis at (https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/) that is entirely consistent with Salby’s work and directly contradictory to to the IPCC assumption mentioned earlier.
This line of evidence should be at the forefront of any study of how to decrease CO2 emissions until it has bee clearly falsified.

Peter
January 5, 2019 3:23 am

I wouldn’t worry. China and India, with there “carbon” exemptions, will be able to supply the rest of the world with plenty of cheap high quality steel. It’s just part of the de-industrialisation of the west.

Johann Wundersamer
January 12, 2019 12:04 am

The “carbon cap and trade” schemes are literally trade with thin air.

every one of this trades have one winner: the stock market.

While the real economy tries to achieve a realistic price at auctions, the stock market earns with electronic speed banking

betting against your bids

every second during the trading cycle.

This electronic money is stored electronically and thus withdrawn from the real economy.

All that is achieved is currency devaluation, inflation.

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