Steel & Sustainability: The Future
The repercussions of the announcement that Indian conglomerate Tata wants to sell off or close its Port Talbot steel making facilities continue. With the closure of its blast furnace on Teesside some years ago, closure would decimate what was once a proud industry.
Sections of the media have jumped on ‘high energy prices’ due to ‘green levies’ as the reason for the loss making on the plant. But analysis has shown that green levies cost the plant about £7.5m per year – about 1% of the plant’s manufacturing costs. And it has been revealed that Tata has made £704m profit on trading carbon permits… Do the math.
So sustainability has not killed UK Steel. In fact, it may be coming to its rescue. A putative buyer for the plant wants to change from traditional blast furnaces (which use raw ore) to electric arc furnaces (EAFs) which recycle scrap. Not only do EAFs form an important part of the circular economy, their carbon footprint is 20% smaller. Win-win all over the shop.
The bigger point here is that industry must prepare for a sustainable future or wither on the vine. Go green or die.
Photo © Třinecké železárny