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.
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.