Tata Steel Facing Carbon Challenge Port Talbot Steelworks inWales
Wales Online reported that the Welsh Government has put into law the target of reducing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, which means demanding
Wales Online reported that the Welsh Government has put into law the target of reducing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, which means demanding targets for steel industry in the coming decades with the first being the need to cut C02 emissions by 63% by 2030. Tata Steel’s primary steel making plant in Port Talbot, which employs around 4,000 people, has been identified by the government as a key area it must address with the site previously reported to produce 15% of Wales' carbon emissions. It contributes to the Neath Port Talbot council area producing around four times as much C02 as any other Welsh local authority. Tata Steel currently uses coking coal to power its blast furnaces and experts say reducing the emissions produced would either involve converting the plant to use hydrogen, bringing in carbon capture storage or stopping primary steelmaking altogether and converting the site to recycling scrap steel using electricity. Any of those changes, or a combination of all three, would require investment of up to GBP 2 billion just in the site itself and huge sums spent on infrastructure elsewhere. Tata Steel told Wales Online “It would look to government to support industry with breakthrough policies."
Teesside based research organisation Materials Processing Institute Mr Chris McDonald said “The use of carbon is a fundamental part of the process. To make steel we dig iron ore out of the ground, and it has iron ore and oxygen in it. You can’t make it into steel until you pull the oxygen out of it somehow, and that’s the job that the coal does. That’s why steel is a much more difficult decarbonisation challenge than, say, manufacturing, where you can electrify lines and so on, and switch to green electricity. You can’t electrify the process in the same way. So what we need to do is find different ways and completely redesign the process. If you imagine, you’re trying to make a car, and you’ve got an assembly line, you can make it a green-powered assembly line. The challenge for steel is that you need to throw the assembly line in the bin and invent a brand new way of making cars that doesn’t use an assembly line, that’s the sort of analogy really.
Welsh Government has recently set out its legal commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, but says it is pushing to get there sooner. The legal commitment from Welsh Government, based on a report made by the Climate Change Committee, is for a 63% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, and an 89% reduction by 2040 reaching a 100% reduction or net zero by 2050. Looking at the legal targets set by Welsh Government, the steepest reduction in carbon emissions must take place within the next decade or so, meaning that the 2020s will be a key decade in terms of hitting the targets set out by the CCC. By 2030, just nine years away, if Wales is to meet the 63% reduction rate, it must drastically reduce the amount of carbon produced.
In 2018, Wales produced 26,525 kilotons of CO2. In addition to these targets, the CCC has also set carbon budgets for Wales, which measure the average CO2 emissions over a five-year period. The next two budget periods for Wales are between 2021-2025 and 2026-2030.