Brussels, 12 June 2018 – The European Steel Association’s (EUROFER) has welcomed the ambitious €100 billion Horizon Europe research and innovation programme proposal for the 2021-2027 period, designed to succeed Horizon 2020. The dedicated areas of intervention for ‘low carbon and clean industry’ and ‘circular industries’ are a clear sign that the European Commission is putting the issue of industrial emissions high on the political agenda.
“The European steel industry is at the forefront of low-carbon innovation in its field”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER. “However, steelmaking today is at its technical and thermodynamic limits. We thus need to deploy breakthrough technologies to further reduce CO2 emissions and commitments to the EU’s ambitious climate objectives”.
At European Steel Day 2018 on 7 June, leaders from the European steel industry highlighted several ongoing low-carbon innovation projects they are working on. However, they also pointed out that deploying these projects will cost up to €10 billion over the next ten-to-fifteen years.
“Innovation on an industrial scale is very capital intensive. Horizon Europe has to provide the right framework and financing to make the deployment of industrial demonstrator-level projects a reality. We are at an inflection that we cannot afford to miss”, added Mr Eggert.
EUROFER has set out its technological pathways for CO2 reduction in a discussion paper called Towards an EU Masterplan for a Low-Carbon, Competitive European Steel Value Chain. This document shows that Smart Carbon Usage (SCU) and Carbon Direct Avoidance (CDA) have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from the steel industry by up to 80% or more. However, such projects are fraught with the risk of failure.
“Innovation is not without risk – and as an industry engaging in difficult, expensive research whilst operating in a fiercely competitive market, a joint effort is needed to succeed”, emphasised Mr Eggert. “The business-as-usual scenario will only deliver smaller, scattered projects doomed to struggle at lower levels of technical readiness”.
“We call on the EU institutions to agree to a large-scale initiative – a Joint Technology Initiative – addressing low-carbon steel steelmaking. The best way to achieve our objective is through an institutionalised European partnership; that is, a joint effort by industry and policy makers.”
“EUROFER welcomes this start to the Horizon Europe legislative process. Horizon Europe must be fit to address the most urgent societal challenge facing mankind: climate change. We stand ready to work with policy makers to deal with it”, concluded Mr Eggert.
Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A PDF of this Press Release is available: here
Find out more about European Steel Day 2018, or watch the recording, by clicking: here
EUROFER AISBL is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.
The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 160 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 22 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.
Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.