Australia grants $924k to explore low emission steel production at Port Kembla Steelworks

BlueScope Steel’s initial 13-month project will explore two main pathways to lowering emissions at the steelworks – smart carbon usage and direct carbon avoidance

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BlueScope Steel has been granted AUD$924,784 (£522,917) of funding to explore options to decarbonise operations at the Port Kembla Steelworks (PKSW) in New South Wales.

The Port Kembla Steelworks Renewables and Emissions Reduction Study will consider the technical and economic viability of several decarbonisation options for the plant.

The initial 13-month project will explore two main pathways to lowering emissions at the steelworks – smart carbon usage and direct carbon avoidance.

Smart carbon usage refers to opportunities to substitute coal with renewable energy sources in the steel production process.

It will include a series of plant trials where BlueScope will investigate the potential to partially replace coal that is injected into the blast furnace with renewable biochar.

Direct carbon avoidance refers to longer term opportunities to decarbonise steelmaking, including through renewable hydrogen use, in combination with a direct reduced iron process.

BlueScope is working with the University of Wollongong and the Future Fuels Co-operative Research Centre on the project.

This project will explore prospective technologies which have the potential to reduce emissions across steel manufacturing at PKSW, including the role Australia’s emerging renewable hydrogen industry can play on the pathway to low emissions steel.

Darren Miller, CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which announced the funding, said: “To meet our net zero targets, Australia needs to reduce emissions from the iron ore mining sector and steel industry.

“More than 7% of the world’s emissions come from steelmaking and these emissions have proven difficult to abate. We’re pleased to be partnering with an Australian company motivated to solve this decarbonisation challenge.”