UKCCSRC September 2018 Conference session blog: Priority Research Directions for CCUS and the Steel Industry

This blog was produced by Fatih Güleç

More than 100 participants from all around the UK, including scholars, experts and entrepreneurs from various industries attended the conference. Exchanges and discussions were carried out on the first day under different sessions such as the CCUS opportunities, implementation of CCUS clusters, developing a pipeline of financeable UK projects, and implementation and innovation. The session titled “Implementation and Innovation” was divided into seven themes such as Storage & gas power, Social, Utilisation, Hydrogen, Steel industry principles, BECCS, Storage & Shipping combinations under the question of What is the role of R&D in particular areas of the CCUS landscape?

The discussions on the theme of Steel industry principles were carried out among seven scholars chaired by Steeven Woolass (Tata Steel). It is known that GHG emissions is an important issue for the steel industry in terms of global perspective. However, there is no many options available to capture CO2 in this industry. Decreasing the CO2 emissions is, therefore, a critical issue for this industry that becomes reliable for the UK. One thing we would need to look “fuel-switching” options and the other is a combination of “support technologies”. The former one, fuel-switching, can enable the capture of some of the emissions but then that is taking up some of the fuel gases generated on side, so that may subside with other fuel sources potentially hydrogen, biomass or renewable but it definitely needs an integrated study for the fuel switching option. For the later one, there is a lot of risk in terms of retrofitting, certainly if a capture system needs to be attached to a blast furnace. Taking action, scaling up and funding these technologies is challenging but some funding options are available.

Additionally, which kinds of business models would work for steel industry needs to be looked at. In reality, CCS on the steel plant is going to add a huge increase in the production cost. Therefore, the market of “low-carbon products” is one option, but there is need for a market for these products and ultimately be able to pass costs to customers for low-carbon products. For instance, the cars produced by green steel can be marketed for the people who want to use the products which are environmentally friendly. The other issue is that most of the Carbon needed to be dealt with in this industry initially as in the form of CO instead of CO2. One of the possible solutions is the synthesis of ethanol or useful chemicals from CO. The other one is to use it in the plant to reduce costs or convert to H2 or electricity for export, but it needs a market. As a result, due to the diversity of sources for CO2 emissions in the steel industry, it is not easy to capture CO2. However, using the technologies mentioned above and the business models, the emission can be decreased.