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Adoption of Green Steel

Published: 10th May, 2024

Context

India is exploring the idea of requiring automobile companies, particularly those producing premium or ultra high-end models, to procure green steel. This steel is distinguished by its low-carbon emissions during production. Moreover, the proposal also includes plans to encourage the use of green steel in government projects.

What is Green Steel? 

  • Green steel is steel that is produced without using fossil fuels.
    • Green Hydrogen: One solution to achieve this is by using "green hydrogen," which emits only water when burned. Green hydrogen is produced through a process called electrolysis, using water and renewable electricity, making it free of CO? emissions.
    • Electric arc furnaces: Another method is using electric arc furnaces instead of traditional ones. While these furnaces are becoming more common, the steel they produce may not always be considered green if they are not powered by renewable sources.

What is the need of green steel? 

  • Iron and steel manufacturing is one of the most energy- and carbon-intensive industries globally.
  • India's steel sector contributes approximately 12% of the country's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The emission intensity of the steel industry in India is 2.55 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of crude steel (tCO2/tcs), higher than the global average of 1.85 tCO2/tcs.
  • Annually, the steel industry emits around 240 million tonnes of CO2, and this is expected to double rapidly by 2030 due to the Indian government's infrastructure development goals.

Challenges 

  • Using green hydrogen for steel production is the cleanest method available. However, it's costly. Investing in this technology might make steelmakers less competitive because steel is a widely traded product.
  • High cost of green steel implies that there is insufficient demand for it in the absence of policy action.
Fact Box: India’s Steel Sector 

  • India is the world's second-largest producer of crude steel as of January to December 2021, with a production of 118.20 million tonnes (MT), marking a growth rate of 17.9% over the previous year.
  • The steel sector contributes 2% to the country's GDP in the fiscal year 2021-2022.
  • Leading steel-producing states in India are Odisha, followed by Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and West Bengal also play significant roles in steel production.
  • Government initiatives aimed at fostering the growth of the steel sector include:
    • Inclusion of specialty steel in PLI Scheme
    • Green Steel Making
    • Steel Scrap Recycling Policy
    • National Steel Policy 2017
    • Steel and Steel Products (Quality Control) Order
    • Steel Scrap Recycling Policy 2019
    • Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme
    • National Green Hydrogen Mission (under which Ministry of Steel has been allocated 30% of the pilot project budget)
    • India-Australia Green Steel Partnership
PYQ 

Q: Consider the following heavy industries: (2013)

  1. Fertilizer plants
  2. Oil refineries
  3. Steel Plants

Green hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in decarbonizing how many of the above industries?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Solution: (c)

X

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