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☁️ "The Race to Green Steel"

The Big Switch

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel / Unsplash

Host: Dr. Melissa Lott
Guest: Julia Attwood | Head of Sustainable Materials | BloombergNEF
Category: ☁️ Carbon Reduction | Green Steel

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:44] ML: “This race to green, zero carbon steel is a really big deal. Cleaning up the steel industry would mean that we could cut global carbon pollution by 8%. That's more than the total greenhouse gas emissions from India. And some steel companies are betting big that hydrogen will be the one to pull it off.”

[4:10] JA: “You've got recycling, you've got carbon capture, […] you've got hydrogen and then you have electrolysis.

[5:20] JA: “Steel is actually one of the best recycled materials in the world. Compared to plastics, where you're recycling maybe 10% of it. Steel is 80 or 90% recycled. That's because it's easy to identify, you can pull it out of a hunk of other scrap with a magnet, and then you just return it to the manufacturers, they're putting it in a furnace, turning it into recycled steel.”

[5:45] ML: “Back in the day recycling was a dirty process. You'd melt down the steel and these giant coal fired furnaces. But nowadays, they can use these things called electric arc furnaces. And the great thing about them is that they can be powered with renewables.”

[6:15] JA: “We make about 2 billion tonnes of steel today, every year. We think by 2050, that's going to peak and level out at about 3 billion tonnes. [So recycling alone won’t get us to net zero steel.]”

[7:47] JA: “Two things to know about carbon capture are that one, the technology can work. It's been shown to work. And two, it's been nearly impossible for it to work profitably.”

[11:28] JA: “Part of the beauty of hydrogen is that you can use it in some plants that are existing today. So it's really just a switch in what kind of gas you're pumping in. [But the process takes a lot of energy.] […] We think by 2050, making steel with hydrogen could be the cheapest way to do it.”

[16:28] ML: “Cheapest because hydrogen itself will become so cheap to make. And this is because of mostly two things. First, we can make hydrogen using zero carbon electricity, and that process is getting better and more affordable. And second, electricity is getting cheaper. And the cheaper the electricity, the cheaper the hydrogen. As we keep bringing on so many wind turbines and solar panels, we're seeing the cost of zero carbon electricity drop.”

[20:03] ML: “If [electrolysis] technology improves fast enough, it could outcompete hydrogen. But it's got a long way to go. […] [We need] all of these technologies working together to get us to net zero steel.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 24 min | 🗓️ 04/21/2022
✅ Time saved: 22 min