Guest: Adam Rauwerdink | Senior Vice President | Boston Metal
Category: ☁️ Carbon | Green Steel
Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[0:57] JL: "We can't recycle our way out of the steel production CO2 problem [...]. That is because we already recycle about 85% of steel. Instead, we need an alternate way to power the energy intensive process required to convert iron ore into steel. Currently, the industry relies on coal fired furnaces, but other technologies could replace fossil fuels to create the energy required to produce steel."
[3:16] AR: "Last year in 2021, there were 2 billion tonnes of steel produced and something on the order of 3.5 gigatons of CO2 [...] was emitted as part of that or was produced as part of that. [...] 8 to 11% of global CO2 comes from steel production."
[3:59] AR: "The primary method of making steel [...] is a coal fired process. [...] That's responsible today for about 70% of the steel that's made. [...] And that's a primary root of where most of those emissions come from. [...] The core of Boston Metal's technology is taking carbon out of that equation and instead using electricity."
[5:29] AR: "To remove carbon, really the only energy source that can be able to hit this is electricity. And that's when you then branch down and get into different approaches to how to use that electricity. We take the direct approach, direct electrolysis on iron ore, [called molten oxide electrolysis]. The other approach [...] that's being done today and in Sweden and a few other spots is using the electricity to make hydrogen."
[8:40] AR: "One of the potential barriers for us is just we are dependent [...] on largely what has to be firmed 24/7 renewable electricity [...] and the pricing of electricity will be a key factor as well. If you look at the blast furnace route today, where coal is used, [...] for every ton of steel that's produced, you're using about 5 to 6 megawatt hours of energy. [...] For our process when we're at mature commercial scale, 4 megawatt hours is our target."
[13:36] AR: "We're not intending to be a steel maker. We'll license the technology and we'll provide the anode technology. [...] Primarily we'll work with steel makers, who would be our direct customers, to design and have them build plants using the technology. [...] In 2025, we're targeting to have our first multi-cell demonstration plant online, likely somewhere here in the US."
[15:12] AR: "The 2030s, we see as a huge [...] decade for transition of the steel industry. And our goal is to be the dominant player by the time you get to that decade. [...] If you're going to hit carbon neutral by 2050 for the steel industry, the 2030s are going to be an explosive period of growth and change."
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