The production of steel is a highly energy-intensive process, whether it is through the 'primary' production route using a blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace, or via the 'secondary' route in electric arc furnaces.
The primary route, which generally produces new steel from virgin raw materials, presently relies primarily on coking coal, which is both the reductant and a major source of energy to melt the iron ore.
The secondary route, which is generally used to produce steel from scrap, uses electricity to melt the metal.
As such, both routes require significant amounts of energy of one form or another. However, European producers have been refining their processes and, since the 1960s, have cut energy demand by 50%, alongside a similar reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The European steel industry's transition to a low or carbon-neutral future will have a large impact on energy supply, because new technologies will require even larger quantities to power new, carbon-lean processes.
This energy transition being as expected, EU energy policy is even more important than before - to ensure that the European steel industry has access to sustainable, affordable energy.
Brussels, 5 March 2020 – The EU has published its draft climate law implementing the principles of the Green Deal presented at the end of 2019. The steel sector has made great strides in its efforts to reduce emissions, but needs the right framework to deliver upon the ambition set out in the EU’s plans.
Priorities to transition the EU to carbon-neutrality and circularity
The steel industry has had a longstanding presence in Europe and remains an important employer of skilled labour.