Green Fuels, Blue Sky: British Steel Backs Eco-Friendly Revolution

Green Fuels
Green FuelsImage Source: British Steel


British Steel champions a research study exploring biochar as an eco-friendly alternative to injection coal in blast furnaces. Supported by British Steel, the study investigates the viability of biochar as a clean carbon source for electric arc furnace steel production. The initiative aims to reduce fossil fuel dependency and curb net emissions, potentially revolutionizing the steel industry's environmental impact.


In a stride towards environmental sustainability, British Steel throws its weight behind a groundbreaking research study delving into the potential of biochar as an eco-friendly fuel alternative. The research, supported by British Steel, scrutinizes biochar's ability to replace injection coal in blast furnaces and emerge as a clean carbon source for electric arc furnace steel production.

The focus of the study extends to the transformation of peatlands, traditionally fertile but significant emitters of CO2 due to soil decay. By converting these lands into sustainable wetlands, cultivating biomass willow becomes a key strategy. The willow undergoes a thermochemical process called pyrolysis, producing biochar, a man-made charcoal. This biochar holds promise as a replacement for coal, aiming to diminish reliance on fossil fuels and curtail net emissions contributing to global warming.

Academics from the University of Lincoln spearhead the research, secured through funding from the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC). Collaborating with Lapwing Energy, a farming estate, and biochar supplier, along with CATCH—an advocate for clean industrial growth—British Steel actively participates in steering the study. Their role involves providing a technical perspective on the potential of biochar as a substitute for injection coal and a prospective clean carbon source for electric arc furnace steel production.

Dr. Andy Trowsdale, Head of Research and Development at British Steel, emphasizes the significance of sustainable partnerships, stating, "A tonne of sustainable bio-carbon optimized for our steelmaking needs will reduce our net CO₂ emissions by three tonnes." The project's broader environmental impact is highlighted, with the potential to decrease UK net CO₂ emissions significantly.

This venture receives funding from the UK Government under the Direct Air Capture and Greenhouse Gas Removal program, aligning with the nation's goal to achieve net-zero industrial emissions by 2050. The support from IDRIC ensures the development of critical decarbonization technologies tailored for industrial applications.


British Steel's endorsement of the biochar research study underscores a commitment to eco-friendly practices within the steel industry. Exploring alternatives to injection coal, particularly the transformative potential of biochar, aligns with the industry's collective aspiration for reduced environmental impact. With the project's potential to significantly curtail net emissions and contribute to the UK's ambitious climate goals, British Steel's active involvement exemplifies a strategic move towards a sustainable and greener future.

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