India starts work on green steel policy

The Steel Ministry has begun work towards formulating a comprehensive green steel policy that include defining the processes of making such offerings, the skill-set required, funding support availablity, among others, sources tell businessline.

A complete decarbonisation strategy (policy) is in the works, a senior official of the Ministry said.

In layman’s terms, green steel refers to steel made with low carbon emissions.

Previously, some 13-odd task forces had been formed to determine the various modalities around green steel-making, including a definition of the offering. Quite recently, a 14th task force was set up to explore the option of using biochar or biomass (as an alternative in blast furnace) in steel-making, thereby bringing down carbon emissions during the manufacturing process.

“The Steel Ministry is working on a detailed decarbonisation strategy. The reports of the committees are at various stages of discussions. We are synthesising these documents into a coherent report,” the official said, adding that it will “soon” begin consultation across Ministries, post which this report (green steel policy) will be put up in the public domain.

According to official data, the domestic steel sector accounts for 12 per cent of India’s greenhouse gas emissions with an emission intensity of 2.55 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of crude steel produced, as compared to the global average of 1.9 tonnes of CO2.

Pilot projects so far

India is also exploring the process of having its own pure-hydrogen based DRI (direct reduction of iron) technology – something that will be unique to the country – and the detailed project report so prepared “is under – scrutiny”.

“A consortium-based pilot for hydrogen based DRI facility is also being explored,” the official added.

According to those aware of discussions, a pilot plant (where pure hydrogen based DRI making) so proposed involves integrated (steel) players, secondary players and CSIR Lab (Council for Scientific & industrial Research) for development of technology, “and IP (intellectual property) in the area of hydrogen-based DRI making”.

Industrial-scale hydrogen-iron making, also known as direct reduction of iron (DRI), is where the oxygen is removed from the iron-ore. But instead of using high carbon emitting fossil fuels, it is done through use of hydrogen with the waste gas being water.

Hydrogen usage in steel making

So far, there are two prominent avenues of hydrogen-usage in steel making.

The first involves injection of hydrogen in a nozzle through which air is forced into a smelter of the blast furnaces as a partial substitution of pulverised coal injection).

The second involves mixing or blending or partial use of hydrogen with the natural gas or fossil fuel-based reductants in the DRI furnace.

Funding support

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has allocated ₹455 crore for piloting the use of hydrogen in steel making and has already formulated a scheme.

This will happen through injection of hydrogen in blast furnaces and DRI furnaces, as partial substitute of PCI and natural gas, respectively.

According to the official, some of the Indian steel players already have drawn detailed plans to switch over to renewable energy fully or partially by 20230-31. And the industry is being encouraged to opt for green steel-making processes, “particularly in primary sector”.



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