by Kathryn Krawczyk, Energy News Network November 15, 2023
Steel production is notorious for its high carbon emissions, contributing to 7% of global CO2 emissions in 2020. However, one major steel producer, Cleveland-Cliffs, has successfully reduced its emissions by almost a third from 2017 levels at its U.S. facilities.
A significant portion of Cleveland-Cliffs' emissions reduction can be attributed to the opening of a "direct reduction" plant in Toledo, Ohio. This plant uses pelletized iron ore with reduced impurities, reducing the energy required to convert the pellets into hot briquetted iron.
The achievement by Cleveland-Cliffs is significant considering the challenges faced by the steel industry in decarbonization due to its high heat and continuous operation requirements. The steel industry is responsible for a substantial portion of global carbon emissions, with the iron and steel industries accounting for about 7% of CO2 emissions in 2020.
However, there is still room for further emissions reductions in the steel industry. The energy transition and the growth of renewable energy are expected to increase steel demand, creating a need for low-carbon steel production. Incentives also come from possible government regulations and customer demands for sustainable practices.
Cleveland-Cliffs' success in cutting emissions demonstrates that decarbonization in the steel industry is possible and offers a promising model for other steel producers to follow.