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Steel doesn’t have a great set of climate credentials.
The iron and steel manufacturing industries have a huge emissions impact, accounting for 7% of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Producing iron and turning it into steel also takes tons of heat and power, making the industry a hard candidate to convert from fossil fuels to electric power.
But one major steel producer has found success in cleaning up its process. Ohio-based Cleveland-Cliffs cut emissions last year by almost a third from 2017 levels at a few dozen of its U.S. facilities, winning it federal recognition, Kathiann M. Kowalski reports.
Much of that progress stems from Cleveland-Cliffs’ opening of a “direct reduction” plant in Toledo. Its steel is made with pelletized iron ore, which already has many impurities removed, reducing the power needed to turn the pellets into hot briquetted iron. From there, the hot briquettes can head into an electric furnace, where they can be turned into steel with a lower emissions impact.
Energy efficiency upgrades also made a difference, and the incorporation of hydrogen power could take the company’s emissions cuts even further.
After all, while climate advocates and steel company representatives know there’s more work to be done, Cleveland-Cliffs’ success proves that cleaning up steel is definitely doable.
Read more from the Energy News Network.
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