India to Cut Steel Emissions with Green Hydrogen

The government is working on introducing a green hydrogen-based process in the steel industry to significantly reduce carbon emissions, according to Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary of the Ministry of Steel. This initiative aims to directly reduce iron with 100 percent hydrogen, promoting sustainability despite the current high costs of this technology.

Sinha discussed this at the “Forging Sustainability in the Steel Sector” workshop, emphasizing the need to address the 25 percent higher per ton crude steel emissions in India compared to the global average. Contributing factors include a lack of natural gas, the quality of available iron ore requiring beneficiation, and limited domestic scrap generation, currently only 20-25 million tonnes.

A task force comprising the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is working to encourage the beneficiation of low-grade iron ore to improve its steelmaking suitability. Sinha highlighted policies like the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the auto sector, aimed at increasing vehicle scrap availability, and noted the high steel consumption in the industrial and construction sectors.

Sinha pointed out that 90 percent of emissions in steelmaking occur within factory gates, with the remaining emissions coming from electricity generation and upstream processes. Therefore, the industry has substantial control over its emissions and must proactively work towards sustainability.

The Ministry of Steel has formed 14 task forces to tackle various aspects of sustainability, including enhancing energy efficiency through the best available technology, utilizing renewable energy sources, and reducing emissions. The ministry is also exploring the use of green hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies.

Water consumption in steelmaking is another critical area for improvement, with India’s consumption levels being higher than other countries. Efforts are underway to reduce this. Sinha praised the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting Format and urged companies to take it seriously.

Leena Nandan, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, highlighted India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2030, aiming for 50 percent of energy from non-fossil fuels and a 45 percent reduction in the emission intensity of the economy. She stressed the need for actionable collaborations and a deep-seated sense of responsibility in the steel industry’s sustainability efforts.

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