Sanjeev Gupta Shooting For Carbon Neutral Steel

Carbnn neutral steel - Sanjeev Gupta

Man of steel and solar energy fan Sanjeev Gupta has announced a goal to create the world’s first carbon neutral steel company by 2030.

Mr. Gupta said GFG Alliance’s steel businesses, including Liberty Primary Steel and Mining Australia, will become part of one legal entity by the end of this year – Liberty Steel Group – with 18 million tonnes of rolled steel capacity annually.

The new entity will have three divisions, Liberty Primary Steel, Liberty GreenSteel and Liberty Engineered Steel.

GreenSteel involves the use of electric arc furnaces to recycle scrap steel. Industrial electric arc furnaces can achieve temperatures of 1,800 °C and recycling scrap steel significantly reduces the energy required compared with primary steelmaking from ore using fossil fuels. Take things a step further by powering an electric arc furnace with renewables and close to zero emissions steel can be achieved.

Mr. Gupta’s plants currently recycle three million tonnes of scrap steel annually and investments are being made in electric arc furnaces in the UK, Australia and the United States.

A Renewable Energy Focus

Renewables will play an important role in Liberty Steel Group overall in order to reach Mr. Gupta’s goal.

An example of a current GFG Alliance related renewable energy project is Cultana Solar Farm in South Australia. The energy generated by Cultana’s 780,000 solar panels will support the electricity requirements of GFG’s Whyalla Primary Steel plant. The Cultana project is expected to generate around 600 gigawatt hours of solar electricity each year.

However, Whyalla makes steel from ore using a blast furnace. Mr. Gupta is also keen on exploring the potential of hydrogen generated from renewable power in steel production as hydrogen can be used in blast furnaces.

GFG Alliance currently has 632MW of renewable energy capacity operational under its SIMEC Energy banner and a development pipeline of 7.3GW in the UK and Australia.

Mr. Gupta sees steel as the building block of modern life, but something that should be produced with as little environmental impact as possible.

“As a responsible business, the legacy we pass on to future generations is every bit as important as our bottom line,” said Mr. Gupta. “Liberty Steel aims not just to produce top-quality steel but to be an agent of change in the industry.”

Liberty Steel Group employs 30,000 people in 10 countries and states it will be the eighth largest steel producer outside China once incorporated.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. OK, this is good but nothing like as good as it seems. Steel is a valuable scrap commodity – it is almost 100% recycled globally. Australia has a small population, lots of iron ore and metalurgical coal. It takes 5-10% of recycled steel to run a blast furnace. Because of small population the amount of steel scrap arising in Australia is only enough to run the blast-furnaces. If more scrap is diverted from primary to Solar Electric Arc furnaces, then to run the blastfurnaces Bluescope and One Steel will have to import scrap from Asia. Asian companies will not then have enough steel to recycle within their own countries and will need to import more primary steel. So more scrap recycling in Australia just means more transport of primary steel to Asia and more scrap from Asia to Australia – witha relatively modest benefit from the solar EAF. Better to export the solar EAF technology to Asia for them to self-recycle using it.

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