Claim: ‘Green steel’ is hailed as the next big thing in Australian industry. Here’s what the hype is all about

Jessica Allen, University of Newcastle and Tom Honeyands, University of Newcastle

Steel is a major building block of our modern world, used to make everything from cutlery to bridges and wind turbines. But the way it’s made – using coal – is making climate change worse.

On average, almost two tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) are emitted for every tonne of steel produced. This accounts for about 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cleaning up steel production is clearly key to Earth’s low-carbon future.

Fortunately, a new path is emerging. So-called “green steel”, made using hydrogen rather than coal, represents a huge opportunity for Australia. It would boost our exports, help offset inevitable job losses in the fossil fuel industry and go a long way to tackling climate change.

Australia’s abundant and cheap wind and solar resources mean we’re well placed to produce the hydrogen a green steel industry needs. So let’s take a look at how green steel is made, and the challenges ahead.

Steeling for change

Steel-making requires stripping oxygen from iron ore to produce pure iron metal. In traditional steel-making, this is done using coal or natural gas in a process that releases CO₂. In green steel production, hydrogen made from renewable energy replaces fossil fuels.

Australia exports almost 900 million tonnes of iron ore each year, but only makes 5.5 million tonnes of steel. This means we have great capacity to ramp up steel production.

A Grattan Institute report last year found if Australia captured about 6.5% of the global steel market, this could generate about A$65 billion in annual export revenue and create 25,000 manufacturing jobs in Queensland and New South Wales.

Steel-making is a complex process and is primarily achieved via one of three processes. Each of them, in theory, can be adapted to produce green steel. We examine each process below.

Read more: Australia could fall apart under climate change. But there’s a way to avoid it

1. Blast furnace

Globally, about 70% of steel is produced using the blast furnace method.

As part of this process, processed coal (also known as coke) is used in the main body of the furnace. It acts as a physical support structure for materials entering and leaving the furnace, among other functions. It’s also partially burnt at the bottom of the furnace to both produce heat and make carbon monoxide, which strips oxygen from iron ore leaving metallic iron.

This coal-driven process leads to CO₂ emissions. It’s feasible to replace a portion of the carbon monoxide with hydrogen. The hydrogen can strip oxygen away from the ore, generating water instead of CO₂. This requires renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen.

And hydrogen cannot replace carbon monoxide at a ratio of 1:1. If hydrogen is used, the blast furnace needs more externally added heat to keep the temperature high, compared with the coal method.

More importantly, solid coal in the main body of the furnace cannot be replaced with hydrogen. Some alternatives have been developed, involving biomass – a fuel developed from living organisms – blended with coal.

But sourcing biomass sustainably and at scale would be a challenge. And this process would still likely create some fossil-fuel derived emissions. So to ensure the process is “green”, these emissions would have to be captured and stored – a technology which is currently expensive and unproven at scale.

Read more: Australians want industry, and they’d like it green. Steel is the place to start

2. Recycled steel

Around 30% of the world’s steel is made from recycled steel. Steel has one of the highest recycling rates of any material.

Steel recycling is mainly done in arc furnaces, driven by electricity. Each tonne of steel produced using this method produces about 0.4 tonnes of CO₂ – mostly due to emissions produced by burning fossil fuels for electricity generation. If the electricity was produced from renewable sources, the CO₂ output would be greatly reduced.

But steel cannot continuously be recycled. After a while, unwanted elements such as copper, nickel and tin begin to accumulate in the steel, reducing its quality. Also, steel has a long lifetime and low turnover rate. This means recycled steel cannot meet all steel demand, and some new steel must be produced.

3. Direct reduced iron

“Direct reduced iron” (DRI) technology often uses methane gas to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which are then used to turn iron ore into iron. This method still creates CO₂ emissions, and requires more electricity than the blast furnace method. However its overall emission intensity can be substantially lower.

The method currently accounts for less than 5% of production, and offers the greatest opportunity for using green hydrogen.

Up to 70% of the hydrogen derived from methane could be replaced with green hydrogen without having to modify the production process too much. However work on using 100% green hydrogen in this method is ongoing.

Read more: For hydrogen to be truly ‘clean’ it must be made with renewables, not coal

Becoming a green steel superpower

The green steel transition won’t happen overnight and significant challenges remain.

Cheap, large-scale green hydrogen and renewable electricity will be required. And even if green hydrogen is used, to achieve net-zero emissions the blast furnace method will still require carbon-capture and storage technologies – and so too will DRI, for the time being.

Private sector investment is needed to create a global-scale export industry. Australian governments also have a big role to play, in building skills and capability, helping workers retrain, funding research and coordinating land-use planning.

Revolutionising Australia’s steel industry is a daunting task. But if we play our cards right, Australia can be a major player in the green manufacturing revolution.

Jessica Allen, Senior Lecturer and DECRA Fellow, University of Newcastle and Tom Honeyands, Director, Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research, University of Newcastle

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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June 5, 2021 2:09 am

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon.

If hydrogen is used to reduce the iron oxide to iron, carbon is still needed to form steel. Where is the carbon coming from?

Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 3:05 am

These two idiots think that the world is abandoning mining. We have the internet and can read about the increase in coal production from all around the world outside of Europe Aus Canada and US. For one of the idiots to be in charge of materials research reminds me of Fauci and Daszac and their web of deceit just to continue the funding – lying for the cause. Couldn’t give e a dam about the consequences. Some day these bastards have got to pay for their crimes.

Reply to  Brian BAKER
June 5, 2021 3:55 am

I don’t think there is an increase in coal mining, except where countries want to produce it locally rather than import it…

Only China is now substantially expanding coal power plants… India is tailing off, much of SE Asia has cut back/halted coal power plant…

coal power plant construction is essential halted in the whole of N and S America and UK and EU

Dave Fair
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:24 am

Only China is now substantially expanding coal power plants… India is tailing off, much of SE Asia has cut back/halted coal power plant…” Data?

Aaron Schnelle
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 5, 2021 3:26 pm

What sort of power plants are being constructed in African nations?

The Dark Lord
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:25 am

so you agree with the comment then …

AC Osborn
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:53 am

I wonder where they will get the Coal to power the 300 Coal fired power plants currently being built, plus the 200 more planned to be built.
Dream on Griff, you are so far out of touch with the real world dreams are where you live.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  AC Osborn
June 5, 2021 2:02 pm

Griff is paid to disseminate misinformation

Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 12:17 pm

and china exporting a lot of steel all over the world…

Vincent Causey
Reply to  griff
June 6, 2021 12:13 am

Is that right? The IPCC scenario RCP8.5 (the one everyone uses in predicting catastrophic warming) is based on an ever increasing use of coal. Surely these eminent people cannot be wrong?

Reply to  griff
June 6, 2021 2:46 am
Reply to  griff
June 6, 2021 9:46 am

Yeah coal is really struggling

Hell it could struggle all the way to $150 a ton this year.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  griff
June 6, 2021 11:15 pm

I don’t think

Could have ended it there, Griff, and saved electricity and CO2 by not typing out the rest.

Response may have been a little more positive.

Instead you kept typing and ended up saying that coal wasn’t being used… except where it is being used.

Well done Griff. Greta will remember you on her birthday.

Davey Duff
Reply to  Craig from Oz
June 7, 2021 6:53 pm

Has Greta Humbug retired on the money her parents were given for her to be used as a useful idiot?

Davey Duff
Reply to  Brian BAKER
June 7, 2021 7:10 pm

Loony leftism and effects on display. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good virtue signal.

Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 4:17 am

Smiths have been using charcoal (wood) for centuries, to make crucible steel.
Using hydrogen (from weather dependant sources) for smelting, is a sullution in search of a problem.

Davey Duff
Reply to  RLu
June 7, 2021 6:56 pm

You will need a massive supply of wood. We already have a massive supply processed by nature and buried for future use, known as coal.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 7:28 am

Bsl posted: “Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon.”

Yes, exactly! And this (from,more%20than%200.6%25%20carbon). :
“Carbon Steels only contain trace amounts of elements besides carbon and iron. This group is the most common, accounting for 90% of steel production. Carbon Steel is divided into three subgroups depending on the amount of carbon in the metal: Low Carbon Steels/Mild Steels (up to 0.3% carbon), Medium Carbon Steels (0.3–0.6% carbon), and High Carbon Steels (more than 0.6% carbon).”

Not only that, one of the critical failure modes for high strength steels (alloys with yield strengths above 1000 MPa (145 ksi) is hydrogen embrittlement, a phenomenon well-known to metallurgists. (ref: )

Hydrogen can be “baked out” of steels by holding the solid metal at high temperatures for long time periods, but that will, of course, require the expenditure of additional energy to make a given quantity of steel at any grade. So, the last thing one would want to do is use hydrogen within the melt, or have free hydrogen anywhere near the molten alloy.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 5, 2021 9:25 am

Also, reliable energy that generates continuous heat to temper and mitigate defect formation. Steel production is neither green (i.e. color, not content – carbon-based) nor amenable to Green (i.e. amenable to intermittent/renewable) energy.

Merlin E Williams, P.E.
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 5, 2021 11:18 am

It is my understanding that hydrogen introduce early in the steel making process is almost impossible to remove. The effective baking temperature range for removing hydrogen from steel is between 375 and 400 degrees F. The diffusion process is very slow. Heating to higher temperature causes the hydrogen to react with the carbon present to form methane, which in turn causes methane embrittlement. I have never heard of an effective method of removing the methane.

Reply to  Merlin E Williams, P.E.
June 5, 2021 3:05 pm

Is this why, back in the day, (60’s), some new car owners would start and then keep their engines running for ( I believe) 500 hours to condition the block?

Merlin E Williams, P.E.
Reply to  Les
June 5, 2021 4:55 pm

I think that was the first 500 miles to wear in the piston rings and all the bearings.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Les
June 5, 2021 5:07 pm

Don’t think so . . . a water-cooled, oil-lubricated engine block could not afford peak metal temperatures anywhere much over 300 deg-F to avoid overheating, scorching the oil and permanently warping the engine-valve blocks. The possible exceptions to this would be the surface temperatures of the exhaust valves and exhaust manifold

I believe what you are referring to was an old-time practice of “conditioning” or “setting in” the engine rings and combustion chamber valves (and, perhaps, valve pushrods). And my understanding of performing this process was to do it on a new engine starting with very short single engine runs (maybe as low as 5 minutes) and progressively increasing single run durations up to maybe at most 30 minutes. By the time one had accumulated 3-4 hours of doing this gradual break-in process (equivalent to about 200 miles driven at speed), >90% of the benefits of doing such had been obtained. Major benefits claimed were reduced oil consumption and longer engine life, compared to just jumping into a new car and driving it willy-nilly.

The underlying rationale back then was that doing this process allowed running friction to smooth out (“hone”) any excessively tight or even mismatched fits between sliding/contacting parts WITHOUT developing very high frictional/impact heating as would happening from the running the engine continuously (i.e., up to its high steady-state temperature) during this break-in period.

I further understand that this “expert”-advised process, to the extent that it might actually have been beneficial, was largely abandoned by about 1975 due to the greatly improved accuracy developed around that time in machining parts and maintaining dimensional fits & clearances for large automated machines that were doing mass production.

My memory about this may be suffering, so I certainly invite others with perhaps first-hand experience to chime in.

Nick Graves
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 6, 2021 1:58 am

I think that metallurgical myth might be based upon the heating/cooling cycles and vibration aligning the iron molecules in the block and ‘de-stressing’ it.

Way back when, BMW (it was claimed) made their F1 engines from old 2000/2002 engine blocks for that reason. They were said to have found that an old one was more reliable @ 1,000 BHP for qualifying times than a fresh casting.

To reduce inner tentions within the engine blocks BMW only took those ones that had done more than 100.000 kilometres – ” they are like well-hung meat,” as engineer Paul Rosche said, who had a very close relationship to Nelson Piquet considering him as a perfect test driver. Later a special treatment had been invented to imitate this high kilometre performance to avoid BMW to run out of old engine blocks. And the 4-cylinder-unit with up to 11.000 revs per minute demanded a verx “heavy” fuel to prevent the engine from blowing up. That synthetic petrol produced out of cole came from a German refinery and its recipe was based on a patent the Nazis once had developed for war purposes.”

Though that might also be an urban myth.

Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 7:34 am

In order reduce iron from it’s native ore state (oxide or sulfide), it must be placed in a reducing atmosphere at sufficient temperature such that the reducing agent (carbon monoxide or hydrogen) will react with the oxygen in the ore. Seems like pretty basic chemistry. I don’t see a problem other than the economics.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Tom
June 5, 2021 8:26 am

hydrogen embrittlement … as was pointed out above

Reply to  Tom
June 5, 2021 10:18 am

Except that is not the chemical process in operation.
Air is supplied at pressure (blast) into the coke/melt with causes the coke to burn at much higher temperatures,

The carbon from the coke/lime pulls oxygen from the iron oxides; primary oxides in iron ore are Fe₃O₄ and Fe₂O₃.
N.B., the iron oxides supply more oxygens than single oxygen atoms.

The high heats used in the process allow carbon to fill out molecules using oxygen from the oxides. That is, CO₂ is the primary exhaust gas.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  ATheoK
June 5, 2021 12:07 pm

Actually, I believe that in the multistep process that forms carbon steels from iron ore (mostly ferrous oxides directly from mines), one of the very first steps is to react coking carbon (“coke”, a porous high-purity form of carbon derived from coal) with a lower-than-stoichiometric-ratio of oxygen (that is, an oxygen-starved reaction) to form mostly carbon monoxide (CO).

That CO is then passed over the heated iron oxides where it is more more efficient in removing the oxygen-bound-to-iron than “carbon from the coke/lime” would be. That is true independent of the iron oxides being in the form of the minerals hematite (Fe₂O₃), magnetite (Fe₃O₄), limonite/bog-iron ore (2Fe2O3·3H2O), or siderite (FeCO3).

Upon removing the oxygen from the ore feedstock, the iron ore is reduced to molten iron and the CO if further oxidized to CO2, whereupon it become most of the exhaust product of steel-making.

Last edited 8 days ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 7, 2021 2:20 pm

I worked in a steel factory using the blast furnace process and observed both the iron works and open hearth in action.
They were building an electric arc furnace since Japan was eating America’s lunch in the high quality steel market place, but I believe the ore was going to be reduced in the ironworks and the high carbon melt sent to the arc furnace for refining.
USS closed the plant before they got that into serious operation.

Once in the furnace, there are zero attempts to convert coke to CO.

The process of converting coal to coke then combusting coke to smelt or refine ferrous oxide into iron into steel is not setup to form solely CO. The coke burns in air forced through the melt. Any CO formed quickly grabs a second oxygen atom as there a plenty in the oxides.

Open hearth operators charged the furnaces from above using a massive machine that picked up rail cars of material and then emptied them into the furnace through the blast doors.

The most reactive additions to the melt were the car loads of limestone.
The operator would pick up a limestone rail car, extend it into the furnace, turn it upside down and briefly shake the car.
Then the operator would retract the boom and as soon as the rail car cleared the furnace doors, he would run the machine sideways as flames would quickly reach where the operator sits.
Everything else added to the melt were tame in comparison.

Or are you referring strictly to the oxygen furnace process which does include a percentage of CO flow through? I referenced and linked the oxygen process in my comment at “June 5, 2021 9:55 am”.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 9:32 am

It is really hard to repair the stupid indoctrination from a liberal arts college education, as these writers (Jessica Allen and Tom Honeyands) demonstrate. There’s is a cringe-worthy level of stupid and they don’t even realize it when they write pieces like this.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 5, 2021 3:20 pm

I wonder at the insanity too.

just imagine the logistics of production, consolidation, storage and transport of that much hydrogen. Then include the heat and vibration in whatever you’re bringing it into a blast furnace with.

I predict a lot of very, very large explosions, fires, deaths, and sad but stupid investors.

Davey Duff
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 7, 2021 7:03 pm

Loony leftism going full tilt.

Chris Morris
Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 11:58 am

The carbon content of steel is typically 0.1 to 0.4%. It is important in the properties, but insignificant in the quantities.

Reply to  Chris Morris
June 6, 2021 2:59 am

That’s mild steel. Many more grades use >0.4% considering the eutectic is at 0.8% and technically 2% or less is classified as steel.

Reply to  Chris Morris
June 7, 2021 3:23 pm

Steel is made from high carbon iron; approximately 2% carbon in the form of carbides and graphite.

High carbon steels, famous for use as knives, swords and whatnot are typically 0.4% up to 1% carbon in the form of carbides.
Unless alloyed with specific metals that form their own hard carbides, steels under 0.4% are not considered high carbon steels.

  • eg.; gun barrels are frequently made from 4140 steel. The last two numbers refer to 0.40% carbon.
  • 1095 steel is frequently used for knife blades and razors. 95 refers to 0.95% carbon.
  • 1025 grade steel is frequently called structural steel.
  • Below 0.25% carbon steels are called mild steels.
Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 12:21 pm

Hydrogen embrittlement is a major problem in steel production. Any process that increases the hydrogen in the steel is bad! If you need real low hydrogen steel and after measurement the value is to high you either start over again, or keep the steel above about 1500 degrees F for days to allow the hydrogen to escape. Either way would use more carbon than just doing steel production in the way we have for a long time.

Martin Pinder
Reply to  Bsl
June 5, 2021 1:12 pm

Good point. Steel is iron with a certain small percentage of carbon in it. If it contains no carbon it’s not steel, it’s too soft. It’s funny too, I didn’t know that you could reduce iron ore with hydrogen, I thought that it was the other way about. I remember something in school chemistry about iron being used to reduce steam to make hydrogen.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Martin Pinder
June 6, 2021 11:59 am

As I understand it, steel making is a matter of removing carbon from the iron, not adding it. After the iron is first reduced from ore, it has a high carbon content from the coke and is cast iron. Blast furnaces make it into steel by burning out the extra carbon.

From looking at the alternative methods in the article, sounds like coal is the way to go.

Reply to  Bsl
June 8, 2021 7:54 am

Ironic, but Rearden Steel in Atlas Shrugged was colored green (alloyed w/copper).

Chris Morris
June 5, 2021 2:17 am

So what they are really saying is it can’t be done.
There are parts that can be done, but at a lot higher cost than current. The only way to make it economic (you can’t make green hydrogen economically) is put the price of carbon so high that the hydrogen is viable. Then no-one will buy it because the price is too high. So the industrial world stops and we go back to living in caves. Great scheme there.

Reply to  Chris Morris
June 5, 2021 4:46 am

So the industrial world stops and we go back to living in caves – Didn’t you realise that was the intention all along

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Martin
June 6, 2021 11:42 am

Can’t do that because of a severe shortage of caves. Another shortsighted example of green thinking.

Reply to  Chris Morris
June 6, 2021 9:49 am

What industry is saying it’s a minimum of 20years away and building conventional plants

June 5, 2021 2:21 am

“Australia could fall apart under climate change.”
Should be:
Australia could fall apart under climate change REGULATIONS

June 5, 2021 2:27 am

It’s all sounding beautiful — except for the generating enough hydrogen part. Hydrogen is abundant in waters surrounding Australia (I don’t think the authors meant getting it from fossil sources) but this doesn’t make it easily available and amounts required to generate enough energy for steel-making processes is simply mind boggling, not to mention spent electrolytes polluting the environment. Yeah, being an expert in metallurgy doesn’t make one an expert in energy generation…

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Zeddy
June 5, 2021 7:33 am

Hydrogen is abundant wherever there is water or ice. The real problem is extracting it without using much more energy than it can produce by being combusted with oxygen. 🙂

Reply to  Zeddy
June 5, 2021 7:43 pm

They’re just two highly educated useful idiots. The costs of producing steel using hydrogen would make it uncompetitive for both internal and external markets, which means tariffs and taxes would be necessary to keep their “green dream” alive. But, then again, people who always sucked at the public teat wouldn’t give a thought to costs and productivity

Reply to  Lrp
June 5, 2021 11:29 pm

Or, as was once explained to me, educated beyond their intelligence.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Lrp
June 6, 2021 11:23 pm

A prime reminder that Educated and Intelligent are different words.

Personally I feel the prime function of higher education is to keep the un-employable out of the cluttered youth job market for as long as possible.

June 5, 2021 2:30 am

I remember from welding classes that hydrogen in steel makes it brittle.
Low hydrogen rods are made to keep this under control, as well as keeping all electric arch rods absolutely dry in a heated compartment what do others know
and they use coke to make steel which has all the hydrocarbons removed

Last edited 8 days ago by H B
Peta of Newark
Reply to  H B
June 5, 2021 4:27 am

You know, I knew that from my welding classes at age = 15, but ‘didn’t know it’. you know?
Certainly explains a lot of my welding hits and misses over the last 4 decades.

I’m driven nuts that, just as I retired from farming (needs a fair amount of welding) I acquired an inverter welder.
It is THE sweetest little nut I have ever bought – and now – have next to no use for it
Its Just Not Fair. snot fair

Stuff steel recycling.
No recycler si vous plais. — nessun riciclaggio per favore. — без переработки пожалуйста — Bitte kein Recycling — 請不要回收 — hakuna kuchakata tafadhali

Got that???
Uno wot, lets give Greta the last word: ingen återvinning tack

THE VERY BEST THING to to with old/second-hand steel is simply to drop it into the nearest sea/ocean or even large lake to make artificial reefs
Doing so will create massively more Global Greening that even Carbon Oxide is cracked (sp) up to do – and by a VERY long chalk.

Go on, be a devil, Make Friends With Fishes
…..maybe even give them an old Tesla or 2 to play with – much more use to them AND The Climate, than us

Last edited 8 days ago by Peta of Newark
June 5, 2021 2:33 am

Um, all a company has to do to make green steel is to simply buy carbon offsets, isn’t that right?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Klem
June 5, 2021 8:29 am

Martin Luther had a thing about indulgences.

Reply to  Klem
June 5, 2021 7:44 pm

You can use surface conversion to make it look green

Patrick MJD
June 5, 2021 2:34 am

Not going to happen. We import steel, and we always will. Aluminium will be the next industry to exit Australia. Heck, we export LNG for cents and import it for dollars. Madness! Mad Max Madness!

Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 5, 2021 3:56 am

Germany still has an aluminium industry

Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:03 am

Yeah, right up there near the top of aluminum production

Dave Fair
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:32 am

Right up there with Mozambique.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 5, 2021 2:20 pm

That table ranks Australia first, but the production number cited puts it between Bahrain and the UAE. I don’t get it.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
June 5, 2021 2:41 pm

I’m married. I’ve learned to simply mentally note discordant facts and move on with life. Life doesn’t make sense.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
June 6, 2021 11:49 am

Yeah, we expect better from wikipedia. /sarc/

oeman 50
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:51 am

Which gets non-carbon-taxed electricity to keep it from leaving.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 2:08 pm

Not for long if your masters have their way

Patrick MJD
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 5:31 pm

Germany exports most of its car manufacturing to other countries.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  griff
June 6, 2021 11:33 pm

Griff, what does the existence of a German industry have to do with Australia?

Your manor lord has solar. Technically correct but not remotely related to the discussion.

Tom Johnson
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 5, 2021 4:32 am

It wasn’t that long ago (in the 80s & 90s)that Australia became a major “green” aluminum supplier. It did that by building a nuclear power plant near a Bauxite mining region. Viola, instant success! Now that nuclear is evil in the Catastrophic Global Warming religion, I guess it’s no longer Green.

oeman 50
Reply to  Tom Johnson
June 5, 2021 8:52 am

Australia has never had a nuclear power plant.

Tom Johnson
Reply to  oeman 50
June 5, 2021 9:46 am

You’re right, and I’m quite surprised. It must have been a conventional plant dedicated to aluminum production.. I was told that it was nuclear. Australia is the 6th largest producer of Aluminum.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
June 5, 2021 8:12 pm

Wrong on all counts Tom. I don’t know where you got your information. Australia has never had a nuclear power station, nor was there ever any major power station or smelter near the bauxite mines.  Bauxite is mined in the remote north. The smelters are in the south near the coalfields over 3,000km away. There is one smelter in Victoria (propped up by massive subsidies to keep it afloat) and 2 in the Hunter Valley — 1 shut down a few years back due to high power prices, and the other is on its knees after having its power supply curtailed 3 times in a week recently to keep the grid from crashing. They run on coal power not green power.

Reply to  oeman 50
June 5, 2021 10:34 am

Legal constraints.  Australia is the only G20 country where nuclear power is banned by Federal law”

“Uranium.  Australia, the world’s third largest supplier of uranium, in 2016 provided 7,447 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate to the world’s reactors”

No uranium for peaceful intentions, lots for weapons.
There are words to describe being so hypocritical.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  oeman 50
June 5, 2021 4:14 pm

Australia does have a nuclear plant, just not for nuclear power. The anti-nuclear stance in Australia is utter madness driven by the uninformed and fear.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  oeman 50
June 6, 2021 11:34 pm

Lucas Heights.

Discuss the technical differences.

Rich Lambert
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 5, 2021 6:25 am

The raw materials needed for the production of one ton of aluminium are 4 tons of bauxite, 80 kilos of artificial cryolite, about 600 kilos of carbon electrodes, and some 23,000 kw. of electric energy. The process time varies from 100 to 130 hours.” from

Reply to  Rich Lambert
June 5, 2021 1:14 pm

Solar panels can supply all of the needed electric energy.
And the energy is free.
I was told about this at the pub.
Where CO2 is Ok in beer for now.

Ed Hanley
June 5, 2021 2:34 am

A chemist and a steel guy at the University of Newcastle (yes, you can chuckle at the irony) want to make steel without using coal, but admit they will have to use coal to make the coal-less steel. Because, you know – steel. Someone realized that they could use Australia’s massive surplus of solar and wind energy to separate hydrogen from water molecules, and use the hydrogen to make steel, because it can take the oxygen out of iron ore and make more water molecules. Of course it’s an endothermic reaction so they’ll need heat from somewhere, and they admit gas won’t get hot enough, so they’ll use SOME coal along with the gas. And they need carbon atoms to amalgamate with the iron to make steel, so they’ll use SOME coal to provide that carbon. I’m not in the mood to do the mass balance equations they forgot to show us, or maybe like me they knew the results would be depressing so they didn’t do them. But I’ll guess the amount of coal they’re going to need in their hydrogen-replaces-coal scheme is about 85% of the amount of coal currently being used. I think they should find some other use for that incredibly huge energy surplus Australia is getting from solar and wind. They can’t store it in Elon Musks batteries forever.

Reply to  Ed Hanley
June 5, 2021 5:31 am

Yes, it’s a story driven madness with reality as a minor component.

Nevertheless, one company is engaged in rational recovery and use of reduced gases emitted in iron and steel making, but their whole being is based on faulty green premises. Still, they can mine government credits and green messaging to make money.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Ed Hanley
June 6, 2021 11:59 am

“Coals to Newcastle,” and “the irony.”

That’s a double chuckle.

June 5, 2021 2:40 am

Madness abounds. Actually no they just want another bag of OPM . . .

Ron Long
June 5, 2021 3:07 am

What nonsense, saying it should be done but can’t be done. The Newcastle professors think they are greenies and I think they are useful fools for China.

Michael in Dublin
June 5, 2021 3:16 am

The Conversation” is a third rate source for reliable information despite their claim of “academic rigour” and support of a “healthy media ecosystem” whatever that may be.

Last edited 8 days ago by Michael in Dublin
Craig from Oz
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
June 6, 2021 11:37 pm

As a Third Rate Source myself I resent being associated with those people!

Triggered even!

June 5, 2021 3:29 am

Australia can’t even afford to make conventional steel because of taxes, high energy prices and regulations, so the idea of Australia “seizing the market” with really expensive green steel is a total joke. Much easier to buy conventional steel from China and pay the supplier to provide a fake green steel certificate.

Last edited 8 days ago by Eric Worrall
ian PRSY
June 5, 2021 3:32 am

The Irainas had it cracked. I visited a steel mill in Iran in the 70s and they had more or less a perpetual motion equivalent. The arc furnaces melted the steel (taking care not to include unexploded ammo frim the scrapped military vehicles), created billets with continuous casting, rolled the bilets into wire/rod, then chopped it up when it didn’t meet standards and fed it back into the arc furnaces.

Climate believer
June 5, 2021 3:46 am

“The green steel transition won’t happen overnight”

Certainly not with solar panels….. wha…wha…whaaaa.

Reply to  Climate believer
June 5, 2021 9:39 am

“The green steel transition won’t happen.”

There, fixed.

June 5, 2021 3:49 am

This is OT, but you might like to know of it. Kid’s electric scooter left in house’s hallway some time earlier caught fire without any warning. Fortunately, the boy’s father acted quickly managed to throw the scooter out just before exploded but ended with a burn on his arm. Lithium batteries are permanent hazard!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Vuk
June 5, 2021 12:20 pm

We’re going to be hearing a lot more stories like this as lithium batteries proliferate.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Vuk
June 5, 2021 4:22 pm

I work for a media company here in Australia and their preferred corporate PC is a MS Surface. We have many users that report swelling batteries, a common problem. I have advised management that these devices, in this state, are an extreme fire hazard. Nothing is being done. Most users, due to COVID-19, now work from home. My work PC is a Surface too, I leave it at work and dial in remotely, I refuse to have it in my home.

Last edited 8 days ago by Patrick MJD
June 5, 2021 3:52 am

good idea.

There are already operating green steel plants using hydrogen (e.g. Linz, Austria) and others recycling steel.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 8:30 am

a commercial plant or a proof of concept experiment ?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
June 5, 2021 9:25 am

From the Linz website the plant is actually a ” 6MW plant used to test whether the technology deployed to produce green hydrogen is suitable for use on an industrial scale*

So a prototype not a full scale steel plant.

Climate believer
Reply to  Dave Andrews
June 5, 2021 11:03 am

Also from their website:

“The most important precondition for scenario planning based on green electricity and green hydrogen is, however, sufficient quantities of renewable energy available at commercially realistic prices. This is the only way in which we can apply tomorrow’s technologies in a truly competitive manner,”

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Dave Andrews
June 5, 2021 4:26 pm

Griff always forgets the details. Here in Australia, CH4 is still used to make hydrogen on an industrial scale.

June 5, 2021 4:07 am

Conversation + Grattan institute = entertaining fantasy land
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie have more academic rigour.

Joseph Zorzin
June 5, 2021 4:24 am

“Some alternatives have been developed, involving biomass – a fuel developed from living organisms”

uh, no- it’s developed from DEAD organisms

June 5, 2021 4:26 am

All steel will be made in China. That’s the plan.

Curious George
Reply to  Warren
June 5, 2021 7:28 am

The world will happily buy Australian green steel at three times the price.

June 5, 2021 4:26 am

It is an idea without much understanding of the issue.

yes, Iron ore needs to be reduced. But that is done by Carbon Monoxide, not by CO2. Yes, some CO2 will always get produced when coke is used. Coke also provides enough spacing (porosity) between chunks iron ore + fluxing components (dolomites etc., if I recall correctly) so that evolved CO can reach everywhere.

Even if Hydrogen is readily available at very cheap cost, it will be difficult to use them in Blast furnaces. One has to control their rate of reaction, temperature of the H2 fire (much high) as some heat is needed to smelt the ores & fluxes and then one has to make the H2 reach everywhere within the ore agglomerate.

Then making of H2 is very high heat intensive process…..

June 5, 2021 4:28 am

I’ve a degree in metallurgy and materials engineering. I have over 25 years experience in industry.

I’ll tell you for free that “green steel” is an impossibility on the scale required.

1.6 billion tonnes of steel is produced every year. 1.5 billion via the blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace route. 0.1 billion tonnes is via the direct reduction and electric arc furnace route.

Direct reduction using hydrogen is less than 500 tonnes and mostly research based. It doesn’t register.

DRI using hydrogen is 30% more expensive and there is no way to produce enough hydrogen to convert iron and steel making on world wide scale to this method.

That’s it. There is no argument.

Reply to  Rusty
June 5, 2021 5:14 am

Hang on it’s simply having enough solar PV available to produce enough hydrogen.

I’m more worried about the explosion hazard.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  kzb
June 5, 2021 7:43 am

kzb, hang on . . . it’s simply having enough land surface area covered by solar PV panels (and the associated grid & power conversion infrastructure) to produce enough hydrogen to produce enough steel.

Oh . . . and enough of the right kind of weather . . . that too!

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Rusty
June 5, 2021 7:00 am


Where do the people who write pap like this come from?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 5, 2021 12:24 pm

From our wonderful school systems.

The Lunatics have tanken over the Institutions of Society and they are teaching the young to be lunatics, too.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rusty
June 5, 2021 8:41 am

Rusty, please don’t bring facts and experienced judgment to a girlie fight.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 5, 2021 4:29 pm

“Rusty.” Heh…

Reply to  Rusty
June 5, 2021 1:26 pm

Nono, industrial engineers do not have journalism degrees, so they never write about unicorns and fairy dust as told to them by deep thinkers who think deep thoughts but never act on their ideas.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Rusty
June 5, 2021 4:29 pm

We have energy companies here in Australia advertising hydrogen is the future for energy production. What they forget to included in that ad is the fact CH4 is used to make that hydrogen. You may as well just burn the CH4.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Rusty
June 5, 2021 4:32 pm

I have a BSME and MSME, but am not a metals specialist. This despite the fact that my family was in iron and steel. My mother would iron, and my father would steel…though I think he spelled it different.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
June 5, 2021 6:07 pm

I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night…

June 5, 2021 4:41 am

What am I missing?
They are going to make hydrogen from water, presumably using electricity, which will be produced how?
Then they are going to make the steel by burning the hydrogen somehow which will produce heat and water vapour which is a GHG several times more powerful than CO2.
This will reduce GHG warming?

I still have Unicorns available.

Reply to  Oldseadog
June 5, 2021 6:18 am

This was my first thought also. They exchange one so called GHG for another and pat themselves on the back.

June 5, 2021 4:42 am

A slight? problem here in the logic, whatever that is these days. Burning Hydrogen produces water. Water is Greenhouse Gas, SO WE ARE TOLD. So: all we are doing here is replacing one greenhouse gas (CO2) with another (Water).🤔🤯🤭😉

Reply to  Alasdair
June 5, 2021 5:11 am

It’s true H2O is a greenhouse gas. But also it is under equilibrium control. Adding more water vapour simply means more rain, not more warming.

Bob boder
Reply to  kzb
June 5, 2021 5:56 am

You just destroyed CAGW.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob boder
June 5, 2021 7:53 am

kzb posted: “Adding more water vapour simply means more rain.”

People living in a deserts or in areas currently experiencing desertification may or may not appreciate that news, depending upon how it is interpreted.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 5, 2021 10:26 am

However much water vapour we emit, it is nothing compared to that which evaporates from the oceans.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  kzb
June 5, 2021 11:03 am


Reply to  Bob boder
June 5, 2021 10:24 am

Unfortunately not. CO2 and methane don’t become saturated at a certain temperature like water vapour does. Raise the temperature with CO2 and the air can hold more water vapour. This is the “positive feedback” they keep going on about.

Reply to  kzb
June 5, 2021 1:29 pm

Which then also causes the droughts that they also keep going on about.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  kzb
June 5, 2021 8:33 am

ha ha … water vapor is NEVER at equilibrium … rising or falling … more water vapor <> more rain …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
June 5, 2021 10:26 am

What goes up must come down.

Chris Nisbet
Reply to  kzb
June 5, 2021 11:11 am

But aren’t we all (by ‘all’, I mean the crazy socialist types) trying to _stop_ climate change, which presumably includes making it rain more?

June 5, 2021 5:46 am

In the real world, the scientific evidence is overwhelming that CO2 emissions are beneficial, not harmful, and the “social cost of carbon” is negative.

comment image

What IS harmful is the leftist propaganda from The Conversation.

The hard-left The Conversation is totally in the tank for climate alarmism. In Sept. 2019 they announced that the only opinions they would permit to be expressed in article comments are those in support of climate hysteria. They wrote, “the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.”

Even before that, The Conversation long had two moderation policies: the official written one (their “Community Standards,” which are basically Quora’s BNBR + “Be Constructive”), and the actual one (“Be Leftist”). No matter how nice, respectful & constructive you were, and no matter how thoroughly you documented your claims, suspicion of casting doubt on the climate emergency was grounds for deleting your comments at The Conversation. But no matter how vicious ad hominem attacks are, they’re acceptable if they are directed toward someone skeptical of the climate crisis.

Although they’ve made their anti-scientific bias official, I’m still waiting for them to change their name to “The One-Sided Conversation.” Or, in keeping with the modern trend toward shortening names…

“Kentucky Fried Chicken” ⇒ “KFC”
“The Huffington Post” ⇒ “HuffPo”
“Federal Express” ⇒ “FedEx”
“America Online” ⇒ “AOL”

…I have a suggestion for them:

“The One-Sided Conversation”“The Con”

Last edited 8 days ago by Dave Burton
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dave Burton
June 5, 2021 12:29 pm

“The One-Sided Conversation” ⇒ “The Con”

I like it!  An accurate description.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Dave Burton
June 5, 2021 2:43 pm

The Conversation is just typical socialist nomenclature, like Open Mind, Real Climate and Skeptical Science, all of these mean exactly the opposite of their title.

James Donald Bailey
June 5, 2021 6:02 am

Once upon a time, oil from whales was valuable enough that people sailed on long trips that took them from New England, all the way around South America to the northern pacific to hunt whales and then all the way back.

And then somebody figured out that we could get oil easily from the ground. And BAM, the world changed. For the better.

If anyone wants a revolution, find something more viable, not less!

And here is a hint. Existing technologies would have replaced current technologies long ago, if they were more viable. Unless of course some idiots worked really hard to make them non-viable by political means.

And making things less viable is a DEVOLUTION!

Profiting by harming others and aggrandizing oneself for doing so.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  James Donald Bailey
June 5, 2021 2:17 pm

>>Profiting by harming others and aggrandizing oneself for doing so<<

that is the plan, right Griff?

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  James Donald Bailey
June 5, 2021 8:14 pm

G’day James

“Once upon a time, oil from whales was valuable…”

Not all that long ago. Tangalooma, Queensland, originally a whaling station – it operated into the 1960’s.

There were two radio ‘personalities’, Jack Davy and Bob Dyer, who had an ongoing competition to see who could catch the largest shark in the waters off the station.

A couple of days ago the Sydney Morning Herald reported a significant increase in the number of humpback whales off the coast.

Can you imagine the ‘stink’ that the “leave it in the ground” mob would make if we went back to whaling?

Reply to  Tombstone Gabby
June 5, 2021 11:45 pm

Well, whale oil is, of course, a biofuel.

June 5, 2021 6:10 am

As net-carbon-zero as wind or pv, ane even more fuel-free than a Tesla. What’s not to love?
Once upon a time, an engineer or materials scientist would be required to produce samples for testing. So nice that we live in a world where we can invent things with just words, and fuzzy dinosaurs dance and sing, and stuffed animals practice social sanctions to protect us from the really, really mean people who don’t believe in fairies.

Carlo, Monte
June 5, 2021 6:38 am

Manufacturing revolution?


More energy == more expensive

Geoff Sherrington
June 5, 2021 6:52 am

If there was a better way to make steel, it would have been in use by now. The lack of enthusiasm for hydrogen methods is greatest among those who are in a position to evaluate it. Geoff S

Andy Pattullo
June 5, 2021 7:48 am

The repeated use of the term “green” in this article is a clear sign the authors are not acting as scientists but rather propagandists. They imply that a method of steel production that is more energy intensive than current methods will be better for the environment because it is “green”. They imply that CO2 emissions are anything but green in spite of the fact CO2 is the building block of all life on our planet, 80% of which is plant matter – i.e. truly green. They do all of this so that they can get wads of cash in exchange for their lost integrity. They sell their souls for a bunch more of that “green” they can put in their wallets.

YallaYPoora Kid
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
June 5, 2021 3:13 pm

Yes but the energy for hydrogen production comes from wind so it’s ‘free’ and ‘at no cost’.

Unbelievable they can actually publish such stuff as serious argument.

David Coles-Dobay
June 5, 2021 8:18 am

I lived in Ambridge PA for a number of years before the mills shut down
Worked at two of the big ones J&L and USS Rolling Works both had Bessemer Furnace. That’s where the coal was loaded from below and air was pumped floating the coal on a fluid bed beneath the crucible. J&L also had electric converted direct electrode furnace where the Shippingsport Nuclear facility provided the power.
A by product of low oxygen coal burning called coke was used to increase the carbon in the furnace.Very seldom did we produce a virgin pour mostly we melted down scrap and adjusted teh chemistry too customer spec. At J&L our mill had been originally powered by large water wheels the shaft system was still in the basement of the mill. The 1920s put giant 400HP 480V open frame electric motors at each major tool. As an electrical millwright I was responsible for three machines A 1800s shear 144 inches wide 12 inch thick capacity, A leveler Roller that squeezed 12 inch hot tongue down to 30 Gauge Hot roll and a Slitter that could slit 12 inch tongue. My section of the mill was 4.5 miles from the furnace. In 1978 we began cutting steel for Nippon Steel company out of Japan their product was of high quality and had more consistency than we could do with our equipment.Our Unions paid us an additional 1$ per person per ton of Japanese steel we cut. The owners of the mill determined that it was cheap to buy the steel from Japan than it was to up grade our lines. In the fall of 1979 the mills locked out the unions and all employees then shut down. The union eventually purchased the J&L mill but could not compete with the quality of the new mills in Japan they then decided to scrap the lines and all machines Selling the steel off to China. They never received enough money to even replace one line with all of teh new restrictions and OSHA, EPA regulations.
They ended scrapping teh whole 7 mile long building and all support infrastructure.
Then the EPA came in and declared the site and several other locations around Aliquippa super fund clean up sites seizing all of the money that the union coop had been able to aquire.
I visited in the 1990s and the surrounding towns had become junkyards and meat packing barrios. Just over the hills on both sides of the Ohio river are remediation open ponds where toxic sludge is dredged and air dried for minerals by Asian companies. The steel mills did not collapse from employee cost they collapsed from intentional short term profiteering and communist funded DEMOCRAT political Traitors.
Just like the electronics industry in Florida under Jeb Bush in Florida more than 20 Billion dollars in FAB and assembly facilities have been destroyed to make room for shopping malls and apartment complexes Median income dropped from 78K to 37K in Palm Beach County due to the exact same people following the money from western PA to Florida and damaging a different industry.
Now all of these traitors are heralded a economic genius having swindled the money out of teh people.

Reply to  David Coles-Dobay
June 5, 2021 8:57 am

The standard politician’s retirement scheme, after their first term in office when they cared about society, is to own real estate when they retire as a result of insider information and inappropriate power brokering. Putting industries out of business, and turning the industrial land into shopping malls and housing developments, with themselves owning some of the land.
In my own city, one Mayor turned out to be owner of land on the right of way of a rail transit development, another was instrumental in the demolition of a hospital due to asbestos insulation, and mysteriously was a part owner in the development company that built condos in the hospitals place.

June 5, 2021 8:39 am

To be honest this is perhaps addressing the wrong problem. Why use iron and steel at all?

There are two areas where iron and steel are used a lot, one is as a magnetic material and frankly you dont need carbon in it for that, and the second is structural.
But steel is only heavily used because its cheap for its tensile strenght, for cars and aircraft we like aluminium – a more ‘green’ option smelted using nuclear electricity – titanium, plastic or carbon fibre, which obviously is one way to ‘fix’ carbon, to name but two.
Only seriously large structures now still use steel or ferro concrete in bulk – bridges ships, large steel framed buildings and the like and of course railways.

Steel is what we used because coal and iron ore were plentiful: if they cease to be, other stuff will work.

The only things I can think of that would be hard to make without iron or steel would be transformers and electric motors.

But there is no requirement for any structural quality here – hydrogen smelting would probably be good enough

John Pickens
June 5, 2021 8:40 am

There is not a SINGLE solar panel or wind turbine manufacturer using the energy of their product to make more of their product.

And suddenly, there will be enough electricity produced by these systems to power a hydrogen replacement for coal in steel production.

This is a perfect example of a perpetual motion machine. It is impossible for it to operate, but it is complex enough and runs long enough to appear plausible.

It simply is not.

June 5, 2021 8:43 am

Having worked the summer after high school in a steel mill I know practically nothing abut making steel except it is a continuous process closely monitored.

My best guess is to continue improving making steel but don’t call it green.

June 5, 2021 9:55 am

Globally, about 70% of steel is produced using the blast furnace method.”

Neophyte urban dilettantes fantasizing.

Blast furnaces are termed “blast furnaces” because air is pumped through the furnace! Which supplies the oxygen necessary to smelt iron oxides into raw iron.
Carbon is freely available from the coke/coal used for fuel.
Clean blast furnaces use coke since it produces a better quality product.

A) the ore is initially processed with coke through a blast furnace to produce molten cast iron with a high carbon/carbides content, over 2%. This part of a steel plant is referred to as the “Iron Works”.

side note: One can usually identify Iron Works employees by their brimstone odor. An odor that sticks to them for weeks. As sulfur is also burned off with scrubbers removing the sulfides from the exhaust.
“Iron Works” is a reduction process that removes oxygen and many other impurities from the iron ore.

From ArcelorMittal:

“Before iron ore can be used, oxygen must be removed from it. Known as ‘reducing’, this can be done either in the blast furnace, where hot air is injected into a continuous feed of coke, sinter and lime, or by the direct reduced iron (DRI) process. The result from both is liquid iron, which is then transported to the basic oxygen furnace. The blast furnace process also produces two important by-products: carbon dioxide (CO2), and slag (a mixture of minerals).”

The blast furnace process uses carbon from the coke and lime and exhausts mostly CO₂.
I am perplexed that the dilettantes writing the above article believe blast furnaces solely produce carbon monoxide (CO). I wonder how they expect to prevent high temperature furnace heat from allowing carbon to capture two oxygen atoms?

B) Molten (preferred) or cooled cast iron ingots are fed into another furnace to further refine the cast iron into steel.
side note: The steel plant I worked at transported molten iron from the Iron Works over to the Open Hearth via rail cars. They also transported rail cars of molten slag to the slag dumps an amazing sight at night.

Again, coke and lime are used to convert iron carbides and graphite into carbon dioxide.
This process takes much longer than the original blast furnace that smelted iron ore into cast iron.
side note: The plant I worked at tapped one furnace a week and poured steel ingots from the melt. They ran 9 furnaces which allowed a two week complete rebuild period for the furnace and necessary support structures without interrupting the flow of steel.

side note 2: Electric arc and Oxygen furnaces processes produce high quality steel quicker than the older blast furnaces. Modern Oxygen furnace operations already capture CO carbon monoxide containing gases for further use in providing power.

Recycled steel/iron is added, samples taken and necessary additives are added to the steel depending upon the steel alloy desired as output.

Rod Evans
June 5, 2021 10:08 am

When they realise replacing coal as a fundamental part of steel making can’t be done, they will start to push for net zero iron..
Just a heads up for what the Greens will be presenting next.

Bruce Cobb
June 5, 2021 10:19 am

Steel salesman to customer:
“We have two types of steel here; our regular steel and the new, “green steel”, which is the same high quality, but costs 30% more.”
Customer: “Why would I want to buy the green steel if it costs 30% more?”
Salesman: “Because it’s green, and you get to save the planet, and more importantly, your customers get to be saviors of the planet. We’ll even throw in these plaques which say “Planetary Savior” on them, to give to your customers.”
Customer: “So, what are the plaques made of”?
Salesman: “Plastic”.

Last edited 8 days ago by Bruce Cobb
Loren C. Wilson
June 5, 2021 11:00 am

I love their assumption that making steel using a less efficient process will bring jobs back. Obviously not fans of economics. The reason most steel-making is not done in the USA and Australia anymore is that we can’t compete on cost. It’s partly wages, partly pollution control requirements, and partly the union resisting technological improvements that would reduce the labor intensity.

June 5, 2021 11:11 am

They only left out a few tiny details like massive overproduction of Chinses steel, uncompetitive labor costs in Australia, and reliance on quotas and tariffs underneath the green steel banner.

Robert of Texas
June 5, 2021 11:11 am

I have never seen green hydrogen; how do the get the color to stay on? Is it green enamel? Gloss or Flat? Or can I get this in the color blue?

The bottom line to green steel is the price to make it – if it can’t compete with China’s steel production using coal, then its a non-starter. It would require governments to require you buy it – so more government interference, more government controls, and of course the corresponding economic red-tape that reduces profits and entrenches badly run companies. No thanks.

June 5, 2021 11:32 am

“But if we play our cards right,” … you’ll still lose because the game is rigged. Best not to play, like China.

Reply to  PCman999
June 5, 2021 1:35 pm

“Playing our cards right” includes bluffing when you aren’t dealt a pat hand.

June 5, 2021 12:52 pm

Smoking too much weed is causing wildfires in California. We only have 2 years left.

Aaron Schnelle
June 5, 2021 3:05 pm

Oh my. “in theory”, “feasible”, “without having to modify the process too much”. I seem to remember reading these very words, used in much the same manner when reading about cellulosic biofuels and converting porcine manure into oil. Oh, and then there was that cold fusion business.

I suppose diagramming the processes and doing the “theoretical” calculations is a way to keep ones self out of trouble.

June 5, 2021 4:16 pm

I read till this”Australia’s abundant and cheap wind and solar resources” and stopped. More lies from lie spewing liars who lie.

June 5, 2021 6:44 pm

Australia exports almost 900 million tonnes of iron ore each year, but only makes 5.5 million tonnes of steel. This means we have great capacity to ramp up steel production.

Exports of iron ore are a measure of industrial capacity?

Last edited 8 days ago by Nashville
June 5, 2021 7:49 pm

Non of the commentators seem to realise that the Lime (actually Limestone) is an integral component of the steel making process. Limestone (CaCO3) decomposes in the heat of the blast furnace to produce Lime ( CaO) and CO2 and the lime functions to remove silica and other acidic contaminants from the molten iron. These include Sulphur and Phosphorous which are converted to their oxides and combine with the lime to form Calcium Silicates, sulphates and phosphates etc. While steel contains small amounts of these materials their presence in large quantities in the final steel is damaging to the properties of the steel.

I wonder if the proponents of the Hydrogen based production of Steel have taken this into consideration?

By the way it is usual to add any required additional ingredients to the steel to the purified product of the blast furnace while it is still molten. So it is possible to add back Carbon to the melt to produce the required grade. Stainless steels are produced by adding Nickel and Chromium to the molten iron and their carbon content may be adjusted according to requirements as well.

When one considers the amount of energy needed to run a blast furnace it seems unlikely to me that it will be possible to use Hydrogen for this purpose. This would require a huge area to be set aside for solar panels or for wind turbines which is only feasible remote from the sources of iron ore, limestone and coke adding transport to the cost of everything else. Furthermore steel manufacture is best run on a 24hour/day basis and requires the use of electricity to control the furnaces and provide power for the blast. So there would need to be sufficient capacity in the generation systems to provide sufficient Hydrogen for the process as well as recharging storage system to allow running through the night.

When you take all of this into account I fail to see that this proposal is in any way feasible.

Greg Locock
June 5, 2021 10:12 pm

Green hydrogen. Thar’s your problem.

Iain Reid
June 5, 2021 11:16 pm

A blast furnace produces iron, steel is made in a bessemer converter by using oxygen to remove carbon from the iron.
Iron has a large amount of carbon which comes from the coke used to melt the ore. Ask any machinist, iron is dirty to machine as it’s carbon is visible in the swarf. Iron is also a very valuable metal and used for a whole range of products. If a different way is used to melt the ore, do you end up with the iron that meets the desired properties?

Vincent Causey
June 6, 2021 12:18 am

I like the way everyone dresses up these lunatic ideas as leading their nations to “leadership” in some green direction (as well as creating “green” jobs everywhere). So Australia could become a world leader in “green” steel, that actually costs more to produce; the UK will become a world leader in making society work on expensive electricity that goes off when the wind doesn’t blow or world leader in having the smallest percentage of car ownership among advanced nations.

I’m tempted to ask, with aspirations like these, how long will they be “advanced” nations?

Davey Duff
June 7, 2021 6:49 pm

Anything with green or sustainable in the name is nothing more than wealthy arseholes SCAM!

Burgher King
June 8, 2021 7:39 am

Hark! A new way to spend money uselessly! Green New Steel (GNS)

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