Steel decarbonisation gathers speed

  • Market: Hydrogen, Metals
  • 07/02/22

The announcement within the last week of over 6mn t/yr of new direct-reduced iron (DRI) capacity and five new electric arc furnace (EAF) sites by the early 2030s suggests that conditions are becoming increasingly favourable for low-carbon steelmaking.

German steelmaker Salzgitter will fully move to hydrogen and renewable energy-based DRI-EAF steelmaking by 2033. It will award construction projects for industrial facilities by the end of this year.

ArcelorMittal announced further DRI and EAF capacity in France, including 2.5mn t/yr of DRI-EAF capacity at Dunkirk and an EAF unit at Fos-sur-mer to be fed by scrap, requiring a total investment of €1.7bn ($1.94bn). This brings the steelmaker's total DRI capacity plans for 2030 to roughly 10.8mn t/yr, including projects in Spain, Belgium, Germany and France.

Swedish steelmaker SSAB announced last week that it would do the same, bringing forward plans for almost 3mn t/y of EAF capacity at Lulea, Sweden, and Raahe, Finland, to 2030 from 2030-45.

ETS phase-out incentivises decarbonisation

The timing of steelmakers' decarbonisation plans suggests that EU policy on carbon costs is having the desired push effect towards greener steelmaking. While so far only pilot-scale hydrogen-based steel projects are operational, several industrial-scale projects are planned to come on line around 2026, when the ETS-CBAM transition begins, and over 30mn t is planned by 2033, after the phase-out is to be completed in 2030.

The phase-out of free allowances under the EU emissions trading system (ETS) and the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) over 2026-30 in theory provides protection for low-carbon steelmaking in the EU, while removing the incentive for steelmakers to cut costs by continuing to use coal or gas as an energy source. And the threat of paying over €80/t in carbon costs is an important incentive for EU steelmakers to decarbonise. But European steel association Eurofer argues that the EU should continue to grant free emissions throughout the whole ETS-CBAM transition phase to mitigate the carbon costs that steelmakers will bear, alongside the considerable investment costs of reducing emissions by 30pc by 2030, estimated by Eurofer to be around €25bn. "The combined effect of the huge investment needed to decarbonise — and also [of] simply cutting emissions by cutting production, which is inevitable given the existing technology, plus skyrocketing energy prices and rising production costs will put enormous and unsustainable pressure on our members," Eurofer director of market analysis Alessandro Sciamarelli said. Eurofer estimates the cost to the industry in 2030 will be €14bn at today's emissions levels or €8.4bn presuming a 30pc emissions reduction.

Cross-sectoral relationships pivotal

The EU plans to have 6GW of renewable hydrogen electrolyser capacity by 2024, and 40GW by 2030, as well as 40GW of production available for import from outside the EU by 2030. But partnership with companies in upstream and downstream sectors have been determining factors for steelmakers assessing the viability of hydrogen-based DRI-EAF steelmaking.

Salzgitter and Danish energy provider Orsted aim to establish a circular supply chain, within which Salzgitter will supply renewably-produced steel, largely for use in the construction of wind farms, and Orsted will supply renewable (wind-generated) energy, as well as returning windmill parts to Salzgitter as low-CO2 scrap at the end of their life span. The company aims to increase the amount of scrap it uses by 50pc to 3mn t/yr by 2033. Salzgitter will also supply low-CO2 steel to all of carmaker BMW's European plants from 2026 onwards.

ArcelorMittal recently added to its investments in the renewable energy sector, committing $100mn to sustainable energy-focused investment fund Breakthrough Energy, and $5mn to Israel's H2Pro, a company that has developed E-TAC (Electrochemical — Thermally Activated Chemical) technology that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen in a process similar to electrolysis.

For SSAB, the abundance of hydroelectric and wind power in northern Sweden has played an important part in allowing the steelmaker to fully commit renewable-powered EAF production within the next eight years, as has its partnership with iron ore mining firm LKAB and energy provider Vattenfall.

Further progress by steelmakers in forming supply or offtake partnerships might encourage further decarbonisation commitments in the near future. German steelmaker Dillinger-SHS has an initial agreementwith engineering company Paul Wurth and steelmaker Liberty to develop a 2mn t/yr DRI plant including 1GW of hydrogen electrolysis capacity at Dunkirk. The steelmaker is also working with seven energy and engineering companies to develop a "hydrogen economy" in the German Saar region, the French Lorraine region, and the state of Luxembourg by producing 61,000 t/yr of hydrogen and investing €600mn in production facilities and transport infrastructure.

Green steel projects

Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
20/05/24

India's JSW Steel to buy coking coal firm in Mozambique

India's JSW Steel to buy coking coal firm in Mozambique

Singapore, 20 May (Argus) — India's JSW Steel will buy a coking coal company in Mozambique to secure supply of the key steelmaking raw material and shield against any volatility in prices. JSW Steel's board of directors approved the acquisition of coal mining firm Minas de Revuboe (MDR) for about $74mn. The purchase of a 92pc stake in MDR gives JSW access to more than 800mn t of premium hard coking coal reserves in Mozambique, the steel producer said on 17 May. MDR's mine is not yet operational but the company aims to start developing the mine in the 2024-25 fiscal year. "This is not only going to provide us some cushioning with respect to the highly volatile [premium low-volatile (PLV)] index," said JSW Steel's chief executive officer Jayant Acharya. "It also is logistically closer to India, and therefore, will give us an optimised cost." Fluctuations in prices of high-quality seaborne coking coal have been a concern for Indian steelmakers, as they work to ramp up production in anticipation of rising demand from the infrastructure and automobile sectors. The Argus -assessed Australian PLV hard coking coal price crossed $600/t in March 2022, following the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It was at $237/t on 17 May, a decline of $8/t from the start of this month, owing to ample supplies and thin buying interest. JSW Steel's fourth-quarter profit fell by 64pc to 12.99bn rupees ($156mn) because of higher coking coal costs. Crude steel production in the quarter rose by 3pc on the year to 6.79mn t, while sales totalled 6.73mn t, also registering a growth of 3pc from last year. The company also expects capital expenditure at 200bn rupees ($2.4bln) in the 2024-25 fiscal year, as it adds to its steelmaking capacity. JSW Steel is targeting a production capacity of 50mn t/yr by the 2030-31 fiscal year. The company expects steel demand to pick up in the coming year, citing the government's infrastructure push and robust economic growth in India. By Amruta Khandekar Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Find out more
News

India to launch policy to boost critical mineral supply


20/05/24
News
20/05/24

India to launch policy to boost critical mineral supply

Mumbai, 20 May (Argus) — India is working on a critical mineral policy to boost domestic supplies, and plans to collaborate with resource-rich countries in critical minerals mining and processing. The mines ministry and related government institutes like the Geological Survey of India (GSI) are working on a policy to drive domestic exploration and processing of critical minerals, a source close to the development told Argus . Discussions are currently progressing, the source added without providing details on the timeline. India is looking into all aspects to boost domestic production of critical minerals, the source said. India is also seeking critical mineral supplies from overseas to feed burgeoning demand from the green energy and electric vehicle (EV) industries. The Indian government is in talks with several countries including Chile, Australia, and some African countries, over opportunities for mining and technology collaboration for lithium processing and other critical minerals. Critical minerals like copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earths are important for the development of clean energy technologies, including wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and battery storage. It is crucial for India, which currently relies heavily on imports of lithium-ion cells from China, Japan and South Korea, to develop a robust battery supply chain to meet its ambitious target of 30pc EV penetration by 2030. India is currently conducting feasibility tests on five projects of lithium and cobalt in Australia , said Ministry of Mines' secretary VL Kantha Rao at Khanij Bidesh India (Kabil)'s office opening ceremony on 11 May. Kabil, a joint venture between state-run Nalco and Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration, was formed to explore and produce strategically important minerals overseas. The firm in January signed an agreement with Argentinian state mining company Catamarca Minera y Energetica Sociedad del Estado (Caymen) to explore five lithium brine blocks in the Catamarca province of Argentina. India's mines ministry and Rao held several meetings over the past two months with the Chilean government and Chilean state-owned firms such as Empresa Nacional de Mineria and Codelco on critical minerals opportunities. India has also spoken with deputy minister of mining and heavy industry of Mongolia, Uyanga Bold, on co-operation in the critical mineral sector. By Samil Surendran Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Clean hydrogen industry still upbeat but more realistic


17/05/24
News
17/05/24

Clean hydrogen industry still upbeat but more realistic

London, 17 May (Argus) — The clean hydrogen sector still lacks tangible progress and final investment decisions (FIDs) for projects remain few and far between, but it is reaching a moment of reckoning essential for market maturity, delegates at the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam said. When asked whether they were more or less positive than a year ago, industry participants gave diverging answers, but there was widespread agreement that progress on clean hydrogen has been slower than expected. This has been "the year of doldrums", the Dutch port of Rotterdam's hydrogen supply chain programme manager Martijn Coopman said. Increasing material and financing costs, the unstable geopolitical situation and a lack of clarity on regulatory frameworks are just some of the challenges developers have faced. This is a "grim environment if you were expecting the Swiss army knife approach" to work, industry body the Australia Hydrogen Council's chief executive Fiona Simon said, alluding to the — misguided — expectation that hydrogen could be used across all sectors to help decarbonise. "We are coming to terms" on the real use and appropriate applications of hydrogen, Simon said, pointing to green steel production. "We are converging on the same concepts and same policies". The industry has reached the point where the wheat is separated from the chaff and it is becoming a lot clearer which projects will actually materialise. There is now a greater sense of "realism" underpinning discussions according to Dutch gas company Gasunie chief executive Willemien Terpstra. And this is why market participants are more optimistic than a year ago. Demanding as ever Still, delegates widely urged more policy action, especially on the demand side, which has been a recurrent theme. Spurring on demand will be key to get to more FIDs, Spanish utility Iberdrola's hydrogen development director Jorge Palomar Herrero, said. "We can have great intentions and great projects but without the demand, they are not going to happen". Even in Europe, which has pushed ahead with efforts to stimulate demand, these have not been enough to spur offtake, Herrero said. Demand-side incentives alone will likely not be enough and eventually there will have to be consumption obligations too, some said. Incentives may help to reduce project costs and kickstart production, but the amount of "carrots" needed is "phenomenal", so "sticks" will be key, the port of Rotterdam's Coopman said. Consumption mandates could help accelerate momentum in emerging markets and developing countries that have big ambitions for exports to future demand centres, the World Bank's private sector arm IFC energy chief investment officer Ignacio de Calonje said. Governments are now ready to act on these requests, according to industry body the Hydrogen Council's director for policy and partnerships Daria Nochevnik. "The penny has dropped," Nochevnik told Argus , noting that the need for demand-side action was the number one priority outcome of a ministerial-executive roundtable held in Rotterdam this week. Red and blue Governments must also remove red tape to speed things up, conference delegates said. European developers in particular are increasingly frustrated with paperwork involved in funding applications, according to German utility Uniper's vice-president for hydrogen business development Christian Stuckmann. Shortening lengthy permitting and funding processes is also high on governments' lists, Nochevnik noted. Some delegates renewed calls for a wider acceptance of "blue" low-carbon hydrogen made from natural gas with carbon capture and storage to address concerns that, if it is up to renewable hydrogen alone, things will start too late — or not at all. There appeared to be widespread consensus that this low-carbon hydrogen will have a key role to play, especially in a transitional period, as it can already deliver significant emissions reductions. But there is still a "stigma" in Europe, according to industrial gas firm Linde's vice-president for clean energy David Burns. This could hamper its adoption, which many delegates argued the world cannot afford. By Pamela Machado Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Japanese bank Mizuho boosts support for H2, ammonia


17/05/24
News
17/05/24

Japanese bank Mizuho boosts support for H2, ammonia

Tokyo, 17 May (Argus) — Japanese bank Mizuho Financial aims to provide ¥2 trillion ($12.8bn) in financial support for domestic and overseas cleaner fuel projects by 2030 to support Japan's plan to build a hydrogen supply chain. Private-sector Mizuho is offering financing to low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and e-methane projects related to production, import, distribution and development of hydrogen carriers. Mizuho said it has in the past offered project financing for large-scale overseas low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing projects, as well as transition loans. Japan is focusing on cleaner fuel use in the power sector and hard-to-abate industries, as part of its drive to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Japanese firms are getting involved in overseas hydrogen projects because domestic production is bound to be comparatively small and costly. They are looking to co-fire ammonia at coal-fired power generation plants to cut CO2 emissions and examining use of the fuel as a hydrogen carrier . Japanese companies have also partnered with several overseas firms on e-methane. Mizuho has to date offered $1bn for cleaner fuel projects. The bank has set a goal to accelerate the setting up of a clean fuel supply chain by addressing the financial challenge faced by projects requiring large investments. Mizuho has attempted to help Japan's decarbonisation push by tightening biomass and coal financing policies. Mizuho has also stopped investing in new coal-fired power projects, including existing plant expansions. The bank has a plan to reduce the ¥300bn credit available for coal-fired power development projects by half by the April 2030-March 2031 fiscal year and to zero by 2040-41. By Nanami Oki Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Trade curbs spur Chinese battery firms to look overseas


17/05/24
News
17/05/24

Trade curbs spur Chinese battery firms to look overseas

Beijing, 17 May (Argus) — An increasing number of Chinese battery firms have accelerated their expansions outside China, to meet buoyant overseas demand and to tackle escalating geopolitical curbs. These curbs include the US' newly announced tariff hikes on China's electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries from 2024 or 2026, and the EU's potential punitive duties on battery EVs originating from China. The US' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the EU's Critical Raw Material Act have also prompted many Chinese battery material producers to step up their overseas expansions. China's battery material manufacturer Hunan Zhongke Electric has unveiled a plan to invest no more than 5bn yuan ($692mn) to build a production plant for battery anode material in Morocco, in which some other Chinese firms have also invested in similar projects. The plant has a designed capacity of 100,000 t/yr and will be developed in two phases with 50,000 t/yr each. The firm aims to complete plant construction for each phase in 24 months. Zhongke is a major battery anode material producer in China with 210,000 t/yr of capacity as of the end of 2023. Its output of anode materials rose to 143,513t in 2023, up by 14pc from 125,460t a year earlier, driven by the country's rising EV sales. It aims to expand overseas sales in the coming years. Major Chinese copper producer Zhejiang Hailiang also outlined a plan to build a 25,000 t/yr production plant for copper foil used in lithium-ion batteries in Morocco. Construction will take 36 months. "The layout of the Morocco project can help us penetrate into the European and US markets as soon as possible as exports from Morocco are duty free to these markets," Hailiang said. "This will help us avoid any international trade barrier." Morocco is one of the main destinations for Chinese companies to invest in and build overseas battery component plants given its abundant resources for phosphate, a main chemical compound in a lithium iron phosphate battery, and its free trade agreement (FTA) with the US. It is also a major cobalt metal producing country outside China, with cobalt being a critical mineral used in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. Major Chinese battery material producer EVE Energy is on track to develop a production project for energy storage batteries in Malaysia. It will establish a subsidiary EVE Energy Malaysia Energy Storage to develop this project to meet Malaysia's energy storage battery demand, although it has not disclosed the capacity, construction schedules and launch dates. The plant is the second phase of EVE's new energy products development in Malaysia. It in August 2023 started building a plant for cylindrical batteries mainly used in electric two-wheelers and electric tools in the southeast Asian country. The firm said the US' new tariff hikes will not affect its business because it had planned the Malaysia projects for consumer batteries and energy storage in advance, and these projects will support shipments to US consumers by 2026. New US tariff hikes US president Joe Biden's administration announced on 14 May that the tariff on lithium-ion EV batteries will immediately increase to 25pc, while the tariff on all other lithium-ion batteries is set to increase to 25pc in 2026, both from the current rate of 7.5pc. This is likely to trigger more Chinese battery companies to increase their overseas investments to avoid the tax, according to industry participants. The US' tariff hikes have drawn strong criticism from China. "Politicising and instrumenting economic and trade issues is typical political manipulation," said the country's ministry of commerce. "The Section 301 tariff hikes goes against President Biden's promise of 'not seeking to contain China's development' or 'not seeking to break the chain of decoupling from China'. The US should immediately correct its wrongful actions and cancel the tariffs. China will take 'resolute" measures to safeguard its own rights and interests'." Chinese battery firms' investments in Morocco Company Products Capacity Launch dates CNGR CAM precursors, LFP, black mass 120,000 t/yr, 60,000 t/yr, 30,000 t/yr 4Q, 2024 BTR CAM 50,000 t/yr N/A Hunan Zhongke Anode material 100,000 t/yr in 24 months Huayou Cobalt/LG LFP 50,000 t/yr in 2026 Huayou Cobalt/LG Lithium salts 52,000 t/yr N/A Sichuan Yahua/LG Lithium hydroxide N/A N/A Hailiang Li-ion battery copper foil 25,000 t/yr in 36 months Source: Company releases Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more