Although typical C02 emissions per tonne of steel are now around 50% lower than they were 40 years ago, the steel industry is still a significant contributor to global C02 emissions. We spend over £350 million per year reducing the environmental impact of our processes and work hard to ensure we continuously improve our performance beyond mere compliance.
- Conserving resources through the use of secondary raw materials
- Integrating renewable energy sources in the building envelope
- Reducing road transport
- ULCOS (ultra low CO2 steelmaking)
Blast furnace slag was once regarded as waste and often ended up being landfilled. Across Tata Steel we have optimised our iron making processes and invested in granulation facilities to provide tightly specified slag products.
These are used as a valuable secondary raw material in the cement industry, conserving non-renewable resources such as limestone, and in mineral wool manufacture, reducing the amount of material going to landfill and significantly reducing CO2 emissions.
Tata Steel are also exploring ways to reduce CO2 emissions through the function of our products during their life. We are actively researching opportunities to integrate renewable energy generation, including photovoltaic systems, into the design and construction of future building envelopes. In the short-term that could include incorporating photovoltaic systems into the fabric of the cladding system in the most structurally efficient way. However, in the longer-term, this may provide an opportunity to convert the whole building envelope into an energy generating facility.
Another way of reducing CO2 emissions Tata Steel has adopted, is switching the transport of our steel products away from road to rail wherever possible. We are now the largest commercial user of rail freight in the UK and recently opened a new Railhead at our North Wales site where Colorcoat® pre-finished steel products are manufactured. This has significantly reduced the emissions and local congestion associated with road transport.
Since 1999 we have reduced our CO2 emissions by a further 13%, however, achieving a step change reduction will require breakthrough technology. Tata Steel is a major partner in ULCOS, a €44 million European research project to investigate technologies that could substantially reduce CO2 emissions in the steelmaking process.
This group is looking at a number of potential breakthrough technologies such as recycling blast furnace gas, CO2 capture and sequestration, electrolyis, use of hydrogen as a reductant and utilisation of biomass.