Decarbonizing the steel industry

  • ToolsX

France produces 15 Mt of steel per year, a third of which comes from recycling. The main consumer sectors are construction, transport and mechanics.

Primary steel is produced from coal and iron ore at two high-capacity blast furnace sites. Recycled steel is produced from scrap metal in smaller electric arc furnaces.

The steel industry represents 18% of thermal energy consumption by French industry and 22% of greenhouse gas emissions. 90% of this impact comes from blast furnaces.

To decarbonize, primary steel production will have to innovate to modify the process to replace coal derivatives as reducing materials. Natural gas, the recirculation of blast furnace gases, plastic waste and hydrogen are avenues analyzed. In addition, the sector is studying technologies such as carbon capture, use or sequestration.

Moreover, since the recycling sector emits less and consumes less resources than the production of primary steel, increasing the share of recycled steel in national production is a lever for decarbonizing the sector. This requires, in particular, to ensure the availability of good quality scrap in the territory at a competitive price.

Downstream, the transformation of the metal to obtain the desired characteristics requires high temperatures: the main issue will be to replace the use of natural gas as a heat source for temperatures that can be reached by electrical processes or by use. energy from biomass.

Many investments are necessary to ensure the transition of this sector. In addition to financial support for investment, manufacturers will need visibility on OPEXs and border protection allowing them to find profitability in an extremely competitive international environment.

Find the PTS Steel Memo in the Publications.

Find out more about Sector Transition Plans.