What if solar energy were the crucial element to usher in a sustainable era of steel production?
The steel sector remains an emissions-heavy industry, despite the efforts made to improve the efficiency of its operations. In fact, compared to 1960, producing a tonne of steel requires 40% less energy.
Farewell to fossil fuels?
The industry is working hard to become independent of fossil fuels, which were necessary to power the process until a few years ago.
This is evidenced by the example of three of the world’s top steel producing companies that are moving towards solar energy production.
Two North American solutions
In Colorado, EVRAZ operates not only the largest ferrous scrap recycler in the state, but also the world’s first mill to be powered largely by solar energy. The site’s 750,000 solar panels provide nearly all the plant’s annual electricity demand.
Nucor is also moving towards a more ecological steel. The company is developing a 250 MW solar energy project in Texas to power all Nucor operations in North America. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2022 with electricity production slated to begin in 2023.
India: the power of collaboration
Tata Steel e Tata Power are coordinating forces for a grid-connected 41 MW solar project in Jharkhand and Odisha. Using rooftop, floating and ground-mounted solar panels, the project will save over 45,000 tons of CO2 per year.
In 2017, the two companies also collaborated to commission the country’s first solar-powered iron mine, underlining their commitment to reducing emissions throughout the whole lifecycle.
Leading the transition
Steel no longer intends to limit itself to producing the tools necessary for the transition to a more sustainable economic model.
First, it wants its process to be renewed to lead the transition to renewable energy.