Australia is the world number one exporter of both the iron ore and the metallurgical coal required to make the world’s steel. Australia’s economy depends strongly on the income from these sectors. Still, at the same time, the Iron and Steel sector are known to produce green-house gases and will be increasingly in focus as countries seek to address the climate emergency.
So, can the steel industry ever be green? What technologies are currently under development to transition into a more eco-friendly steel industry?
Many of us are aware of the damage that the burning of fossil fuels can have, with coal-burning now accounting for about 36% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. While thermal coal is hugely damaging, what about the metallurgical coal which is used to produce steel?
However, the extent of the climate crisis demands that societies around the world work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions across the board. This means a rapid reduction in the use of materials that are energy-intensive to produce, including steel. As such, we need to rethink the way we create and use such materials radically.
But we also need to consider the incredible things that steel can do to make the world a more eco-friendly place. Steel must be used critically in the transition towards a zero-carbon economy. For example, it is used to build wind turbines and is essential in the production of renewable energies such as solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro-energy.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is currently investigating the use of charcoal made from oil mallee trees and other native hardwoods to replace coal in steel production. While technologies such as this are still developing and in need of further improvement, they signify that the steel industry is moving towards a more sustainable future.
While these technologies are still being developed, major steelworks should be subject to independent environmental audits to assess the extent of carbon emissions and other pollution factors. This will ensure that companies are maintaining an ethical approach to production, minimising the risk of over-pollution.
Steel has a crucial role to play in producing and distributing energy as well as improving energy efficiency. If you would like to learn more about steel and renewable energy, or if you need quality steel that is fabricated to suit your unique needs, contact Steel Fabrication Services today.
Our team of expert structural steel fabricators have the experience and knowledge to answer any of your questions and will ensure that you find the best solution to suit your needs. To contact us today, simply call, fax or email for information or a steel fabrication quote, or drop by our Brookvale location.