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This article is more than 2 month old.

Fossil-free steel to help automakers manufacture cleaner cars; here's how

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Several companies involved directly in the steel business are getting increasingly aware of the damage this industry is causing to the planet, which is why green steel is now the new frontier that many industries, particularly the auto industry, which is one of the biggest consumers of steel, are moving towards.

Fossil-free steel to help automakers manufacture cleaner cars; here's how
AB Volvo, a Swedish truck-maker accepted the delivery of the world's first green steel, a carbon-free variety of the steel, which is a lot healthier for the environment.
Using green steel to manufacture vehicles is an "important step towards a completely fossil-free value chain from mine to finished steel," it said in a statement.
Green steel is the new frontier across many industries now, particularly the auto industry, which is one of the biggest consumers of steel, as they race to find cleaner steel to manufacture their products.
Steel, which is the building block of the modern world, has come to undermine its very foundation. The process through which steel is forged uses a lot of coal and worsens the already deteriorating climate crisis. For every tonne of steel produced, almost two tonnes of Co2 is released into the atmosphere.
According to the latest report, 7 percent of the earth's greenhouse gases (GHG) are a result of pollution generated from steel industries, which includes everything from cutlery to cars.

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What is green steel?

Traditional steel is produced by separating oxygen from iron ore to produce pure iron. This is done by heating up the ore using coal or natural gas, processes that release a lot of carbon dioxide.

Green steel technology does the same thing - separate Oxygen from iron ore - but by using hydrogen as a fuel made from renewable energy. Thus reducing the dependency on fossil fuels.

What’s the auto industry doing about it?

Till now the automobile industry was responding to the situation by exploring options such as recycled steel, in order to find cleaner ways to build vehicles. Pushed further by regulators and climate-conscious customers, automakers are now investing in new technologies.

According to a report by Wall Street Journal, Mercedes bought a stake in H2 Green Steel in May. The Swedish company plans to build a hydrogen-powered steel plant to provide carbon-free steel for the auto industry.

How exactly does the new tech work?

Green steel technology only works if the hydrogen used to separate oxygen from iron ore is produced without generating Co2.



"H2, the company Mercedes has invested in, aims to do this by tapping Sweden's plentiful hydroelectric power to produce hydrogen that in turn will power a small steel mill built to produce 5 million tonne of steel a year—enough for about three million cars," WSJ reported.

According to the report, the process that H2 uses emits just 0.1 tonne of Co2 per tonne of steel. Mercedes has promised to roll out vehicles using H2’s low-carbon steel by 2025.

Other automotive giants such as BMW announced their plans to invest in Boston Metal, a US startup that has developed a process to melt iron ore using a different technology -- electricity.



 
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