Japan’s Steel Industry Plan to Cut CO2 Has Missing Links

June 23, 2021|Steel, Decarbonization

Nippon Steel Plans for new furnace

Pressured to follow Japan’s net-zero commitments, the country’s top steel maker, and one of its biggest CO2 emitters, offered not one decarbonization plan but three. In a recent announcement Nippon Steel vowed to replace coal with hydrogen in its steel production; to switch the type of furnaces it operates to a low-carbon option; and to employ carbon capture, among other measures.

The problem for the company, which is single-handedly responsible for almost 8% of Japan’s CO2, is that all of these actions are based on currently unavailable technology or materials. The roadmap to a cleaner future for steel has several core missing links.

Unless Nippon Steel and its peers find near-term solutions, they could face a curtailment of production volumes within a decade.

The three plans of Nippon Steel
Nippon Steel likes to stress just how energy-intensive the industry was. Indeed, steelmaking accounts for 10% of Japan’s energy input.

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