British Steel unveils roadmap to Net Zero with investment pledge in green technology

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British Steel has unveiled its roadmap to Net Zero – outlining its commitment to the biggest transformation in its history.

The company, a major emitter at the heart of the most carbon intensive industrial cluster in the UK, has pledged to invest in a range of technologies to deliver net-zero steel by 2050, and significantly reduce its CO2 intensity by 2030 and 2035.

Plans, described as in line with UK commitments to the Paris Agreement, will see the business adopt a science-based target in order to validate its reductions.

Read more: How the Humber can become industrial equivalent of Silicon Valley

British Steel chairman and chief executive of parent company Jingye, Huiming Li, said: “We firmly believe our products can play a central role in transitioning to a low-carbon, circular economy and we have ambitious plans to reduce the carbon intensity of our operations, with solutions that are globally recognised and accepted.

“Embracing new technology and ways of working will help our drive towards a phased reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, 2035 and 2050. And while there is no doubt decarbonisation is a major challenge for our business – the biggest we have faced in 130 years of steelmaking – we’re committed to creating a clean, green and sustainable future for British Steel.”

The Scunthorpe-headquartered company’s efforts to decarbonise the business are already underway, with a variety of projects being implemented to improve environmental performance.

It has recently increased the amount of scrap used in the integrated steelmaking route and plans to further increase this by 2023, and it is progressing the use of hot briquetted iron and scrap in the iron making process. These will have an immediate and significant CO2 reduction.

“Biggest challenge in 130 years of steelmaking” – how Huiming Li has described reaching Net Zero for British Steel.

It is also part of the Zero Carbon Humber partnership – a dual network featuring carbon capture and storage and hydrogen distribution.

An increase in scrap use and electric arc furnace steelmaking are also to be used, while light weighting and life extension will bring benefits to end users.

Mr Li said: “When we bought British Steel 18 months ago we promised to transform the company into a sustainable business and decarbonisation is fundamental to this. We have implemented a number of significant projects to enhance operations and, fuelled by the drive of our employees, we have introduced many positive changes.

“A great deal of hard work lies ahead but achieving aggressive emissions reductions is possible within the ambitious timescales of the UK government. However, successful implementation of our Low-Carbon Roadmap requires appropriate backing from the UK government through supporting policies and frameworks.

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“The UK government has already been supportive of the measures we have in place to significantly improve our manufacturing operations, energy efficiency and environmental performance in agreed timescales. Now we require its site-specific support for a rapid transition, which will partially involve technologies not yet available on an industrial scale. We will work closely with them to achieve current and new targets and deliver on our net-zero promise.”

The release comes as the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference comes to the UK next month, while closer to home The Waterline Summit takes place this month.

British Steel currently operates two out of four blast furnaces at Scunthorpe, with Teesside Beam Mill at Lackenby, the Special Profiles division at Skinningrove and FN Steel in Holland. It also operates Immingham Bulk Terminal – the dedicated port facility.

Mr Li said: “Steel is the world’s most recycled material and vital to modern economies. Over the coming decades, global demand is expected to grow to meet rising social and economic need, so we’ll keep working together with our customers and suppliers to ensure we deliver the net-zero steel society needs.”

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