Policy frameworks like scrap availability and usage, supporting R&D, and collaboration amongst industry stakeholders are essential for the decarbonization process.
JSW Steel - Prabodha Acharya, Chief Sustainability Officer
Making steel involves high energy and is carbon intensive, and on an average, steel production accounts for about 7% of the global CO2 emissions. While climate change is perceived as general business risk, we look at the opportunity that provides for the business to transform. Our company’s net-zero goals are aligned with the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) outlined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and with the NDC of India. Our roadmap for decarbonidation sets ambitious targets for carbon emission reduction, aiming for net-zero emission well before India’s commitment to achieve Net-Zero by 2070. We have set ambitious short term targets to reduce our carbon emission intensity by 42% from the base year of 2005; till date, we have achieved a 30% reduction.
Strategy to achieve net-zero carbon emission
We are implementing a comprehensive strategy to achieve a net-zero goal with a focus on decarbonization. Our multi-phase plan outlines the approach over the coming decades. We are deploying levers like energy transition towards renewable energy, adopting and promoting efficiency improvements in energy consumption, process optimization, increased use of available scrap, and supporting a circular economy through better resource management and adoption of Best Available Technologies (BAT). We are also looking at nascent technologies like Green Hydrogen and CCU/CCUS (carbon capture, utilization, and storage) for commercial feasibility.
JSW Steel has achieved significant milestones in the last five years towards decarbonisation:
- JSW has commissioned BATs in its operations to improvise the process towards energy efficiency. It has also embarked on a SEED (Sustainable Energy Environment & Decarbonisation) program to reduce CO2 emissions from the existing assets with efficiency improvements and ground-level change management, all of which have delivered visible improvements in the first year of implementation. The target for the SEED program is reducing 9+ million tons of CO2 by 2030.
- Our goal is to use only renewables for steel making by 2030 and we intend to set up 10 GW renewable capacities to steer this. JSW has commissioned a 225 MW solar facility at Vijayanagar and is using solar power in steel manufacturing, becoming the first of its kind steel plant to take such an initiative.
- We have taken several initiatives for water conservation like treatment of sewage water for industrial use. Our water conservation initiatives are aimed at reducing water consumption for steel manufacturing, while also enhancing water availability in catchment areas for overall use.
- JSW has successfully completed injection of waste plastic in Blast Furnace, Electric Arc Furnace, and Coke Ovens - bolstering our environmental efforts and enabling circularity and sustainability. We have commissioned 800 TPD slag for a construction sand plant.
- JSW has planted over 2+ million mangrove saplings near the coast of Dolvi plant to enhance biodiversity and prevent sea water ingress in agri lands.
No doubt, the steel industry is among the three biggest producers of carbon dioxide and steel producers across the globe are increasingly facing a decarbonization challenge to reduce their carbon footprint. JSW Steel understands the need to reduce its carbon footprint from both environmental and economic perspectives and has therefore adopted a proactive approach towards decarbonization.
One major challenge is the high carbon intensity of traditional steel production processes, such as the blast furnace route. These processes rely on coal and coke as the primary reductants, leading to carbon emissions. Transitioning from these processes requires substantial investments in research and development, as well as deployment of alternative commercially feasible technologies to match the volumes of developing and sourcing low-carbon or carbon-free alternatives for steel making is crucial for achieving significant reduction of carbon emissions. While hydrogen is being considered as the best alternative to coke, the commercial/economic feasibility of green hydrogen is a challenge and is at a very nascent trial stage.
Usage of renewable energy in operations and availability of land for renewable projects along with high cost of capital and infrastructure for storage and transmission of renewable energy for steel making is a huge challenge.
Becoming a low carbon economy requires significant technology upgrades and adoption of newer technologies like green hydrogen production and carbon capture utilization/storage. Adopting these when feasible and integrating them in steel production will pose a significant challenge in terms of maturity, replacement, and cost.
Creating economic value from waste
Steel manufacturing companies can effectively convert waste into valuable resources through various practices and technologies that promote waste management, resource conservation, and circular economy principles. By adopting these approaches, companies can reduce waste generation, minimize their environmental impact, and create economic value from what was previously considered waste. JSW Steel has demonstrated circularity in steel manufacturing by various interventions such as:
Successful waste plastic injection in blast furnace at Vijayanagar: We have achieved a significant breakthrough by embarking on waste plastic injection in blast furnace by successfully injecting a substantial quantity of waste plastic into Blast Furnace 3 at the Vijayanagar Steel Plant, demonstrating our commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation in the steel manufacturing sector. We have also commissioned 3 TPD waste plastic injection system in Electric Arc Furnace and Coke Ovens at our operations.
Development of Construction Sand from Waste Steel Slag: A 80 TPH steel slag to construction sand plant has been commissioned at our Vijayanagar works. This project ensures circularity while enabling resource conservation by producing an eco-friendly alternative to natural river sand.
Use of steel slag for road construction: We are undertaking steps towards sustainable road construction with the help of the Central Road & Research Institute (CRRI) and have successfully constructed a concrete road using steel slag as aggregate on the National Highway 66 (Mumbai-Goa) covering 1,000 meters near our Dolvi plant.
Use of Iron Making Slag for Cement Manufacturing: The use of iron making slag in the manufacture of cement has been developed and done from a long time in the industry to promote circularity.
Use of sewage water: JSW has developed an innovative project where the sewage water from a township is being treated and utilized for plant applications. This has resulted in conserving about 3800 m3/day of water in our operations.