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Achieving a decarbonised European steel industry in a circular economy
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
En fossilfri europeisk stålindustri I en cirkulär ekonomi (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

As part of the European Union’s climate commitment including the adoption of the Paris agreement, the European commission has developed a long-term strategy with the goal to reach net zero CO2emissions in 2050. To achieve this, a transformation of the European industry is necessary, as it represents 30% of EU’s total emissions. A major challenge will be to cut emissions in the CO2intensive steel industry, which is considered hard to abate. To reach the Paris agreement, deep emission cuts are necessary to occur within a decade, before cumulative emissions are too high.

Today, about 60% of all steel in the EU is produced using coke as feedstock, a process resulting in large CO2 emissions. A new process in which hydrogen is used instead of coke is under development, with no direct CO2 emissions as result. The implementation of such technologies can help shift the production from fossil based to renewable, with declining emissions as a result. Until now, most abatement methods are focused on the supply side, finding technical solutions that can reduce emissions. This study shows that technology can play an important role in the transformation of the steel industry but will not alone achieve the necessary reductions fast enough.

To achieve near-zero emissions in the steel industry, the solution set needs to widen to include demand side measures. The results show that circular economy principles that promote higher shares of recycled steel and reduced losses have the potential to lower total demand. This also applies for circular business models, by which incentives for higher utilisation and lifetimes of products can be created. In this report, demand-side measures are analysed using a stock-based steel demand model. It is estimated that demand-side measures can decrease the steel demand by 27% in 2050, compared to a business as usual scenario. Applying circular principles would also increase the share of recycled steel being produced from old steel scrap, a process far less CO2 intensive than virgin production.

The findings are, that demand side measures can provide immediate deep emission cuts necessary, saving time before new technologies are implemented. The lower steel demand also helps making the transition from fossil to fossil-free steel production easier. By a combination of demand side reductions and hydrogen-DR the steel industry in Europe can reach near-zero emissions by 2050.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 27
Series
TRITA-ABE-MBT ; 19194
Keywords [en]
Circular economy, CO2 mitigation, Climate change, European steel industry, low CO2 steel
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-252300OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-252300DiVA, id: diva2:1318064
External cooperation
Material Economics
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Energy and Environment
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-01 Created: 2019-05-25 Last updated: 2019-07-01Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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