February 2023
Europe has targeted a reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels. Consequently, steel producers in Europe will lead the green steel transition with a signification number of companies deciding to implement Carbon Direct Avoidance. This means shutting down existing BF/BOF and investing in EAF and DRI steelmaking technology.

China and India are expected to achieve net zero by 2060 and 2070, respectively. As such, traditional steelmaking technology will dominate for the foreseeable future. India can reduce its emission by utilising natural gas for DRI production rather than coal.



Tata Steel

Tata Steel aims to achieve a carbon emission intensity of <2MtCO2e by 2025 and <1.8MtCO2e by 2030. At its Jamshedpur plant the company has been using CO2 capture from blast furnace gas utilising amine-based technology to enable for onsite reuse. Also, at the same site the company conducted a trial for continuous injection of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) in blast furnace to reduce emissions.

Tata Steel will increase its scrap availability and demand in India, this will include the circular steel manufacturing models. From now till 2025, Tata Steel will increase its share of renewable energy generation with 150MW projects being implemented across the Indian sites.

From now until 2030, Tata Steel plans to shift from metallurgical coal to cleaner fuel of natural gas. During the same time period the company will upscale pilots of carbon capture and utilisation and hydrogen-based steelmaking in Indian units.

Tata Steel is actively discussing the possible ways of hydrogen generation and injection into blast furnace with the goal of becoming the world’s first in this field. Tata Steel are working towards installing natural gas based DRI kiln in India and be future ready in the use of hydrogen by replacing natural gas.



From a base year of 2017-19 or 78.8Mt of emissions, POSCO plans to reduce carbon emissions (Scope 1 & 2) by 10% in 2030, reach 50% in 2040, and become net zero in 2050. The company is planning to invest US$14bn in low-emissions steel production until 2030. POSCO is in the process of reviewing its steel facilities for implementation of EAF steelmaking for green steel products. A decision is expected to be announced by the company in early 2023.

In the short term the company will introduce EAFs and increase its ratio of scrap rather than utilising hot metal for steel production, to reduce its carbon emissions. The company will also apply technologies of carbon, capture, utilisation and storage to reduce coal and energy consumption during processing.

By 2030 POSCO expects to utilise HyREX (Hydrogen Reduction) technology to decarbonise. This process involves a steelmaking method that manufactures molten metal using iron ore fines and hydrogen based on FINEX fluidised reduction technology which POSCO and Primetals Technologies have jointly developed.

HyREX does not require a blast furnace nor converter. Iron ore and hydrogen go into the fluidised reduction furnace and come out as DRI. Longer term plans towards net zero include gradually introducing HyREX and EAFs based on renewable energy.



JFE Steel

JFE Steel plans to reduce its steel business CO2 emissions by 18% in fiscal year 2024 (March 2025) equating to 47.6tCO2e, from fiscal year 2013 base year. The company expects to be carbon neutral by 2050. JFE Steel has plans to invest US$7bn on low-carbon technology over the next 8 years to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% or more by 2030. To achieve this goal JFE Steel will focus on carbon recycling blast furnace, carbon capture utilisation, and hydrogen ironmaking using direct reduction (DRI).

Specific investment initiatives include low-carbon initiatives of large EAF, ferro coke, scrap and reduced iron. The company is considering the construction of an EAF to replace a blast furnace at its site in west Japan, Kurashiki plant. This will align with the refurbishment of the blast furnace, with the EAF to be commissioned between 2027-2030. The company has stated it would maintain an annual crude steel output of 26Mt if the decision is made to switch its BF to EAF steelmaking.

JFE Steel’s concept of carbon-recycling blast furnace means the CO2 from the blast furnace is converted into carbon-neutral reductant (methane) by using hydrogen, enabling the replacement of coal-derived reductant. Partial demonstration of carbon recycling blast furnace was conducted at Keihin #2 BF prior to its shutdown. The company expects to have proof of principle completed by 2027 with a small-scale demonstration plant of 150m3 in Chiba area. As part of its decarbonisation plans JFE Steel is targeting a scrap ratio of 20% from its current 12-15% ratio.

Under the company’s ‘Environmental Vision 2050’ JFE Steel will decarbonise via the use eco-friendly double-slag refining process (DRP). This method allows up to 18% scrap usage in converters, compared with only 10% via traditional methods. The company is planning to test a high efficiency larger size EAF from 2031, with expectation to implement by 2034. Removing impurities will be achieved with DRI. For now, a small pilot EAF (10/t) in Chiba District will commence testing from 2024.



ArcelorMittal is aiming to reduce its CO2e/pts by 25% in 2030 (from 2018) in Europe. This equates to reducing CO2 emissions by 35% in 2030 (from 2018) in Europe and be carbon neutral by 2050. The company is planning to achieve ResponsibleSteel certification for its steelmaking sites in 50% of countries by 2025.

ArcelorMittal is planning to invest US$3.65bn in strategic capital expenditure from 2021-2024. The company’s first hydrogen reduction project will commence 2024-25. Beyond 2030 ArcelorMittal will utilise the hydrogen economy with the expectation its cost-effective is competitive.

Various European operations will shut down its BF/BOF steelmaking technology and transition to EAF/DRI technology. These include sites in Dunkirk and Fos-sur-Mer (France), Espana (Spain) Gent (Belgium) and Taronto (Italy).

The French government will invest US$1.93bn in ArcelorMittal’s decarbonisation programme at the company’s Dunkirk and Fos-sur-Mer steelmaking sites in France. The Dunkirk site will include investment in a new 2.5Mtpa DRI plant to transform iron ore using hydrogen rather than coal and to feed the two new EAFs. Commissioning of the new equipment will commence in 2027. The blast furnaces at Dunkirk and Fos-sur-Mer will be gradually replaced from 3 to 1; and from 2 to 1, respectively.

ArcelorMittal plans to build a 2.3Mtpa green hydrogen DRI unit coupled with a 1.1Mt hybrid EAF at Gijón in Spain, which would be the world’s first full-scale zero carbon-emissions steel plant. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Spanish government describing a joint investment of US$1.2bn in the project, which will begin production at the end of 2025. The project will reduce emissions by increasing the use of steel scrap and H2-DRI in its EAFs and by powering all steelmaking assets with renewable electricity.

The company is planning large-scale hydrogen-based EAF and DRI steelmaking conversion in Bremen, Germany and a smaller pilot plant in Eisenhuttenstadt. The sites will produce 3.5Mtpa between them by 2030, saving 5Mt of CO2 emissions. The conversion will cost US$1.2bn-US$1.8bn.

ArcelorMittal has planned a US$1.3bn investment with the governments of Belgium and Flanders for its Gent steel plant. It will build a 2.5Mt DRI plant and two EAFs at the site. The plan is for a gradual transition from the existing Gent blast furnace, refurbished in 2020 for US$229m, to the DRI and two EAFs, with the blast furnace closing by 2030. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 3Mtpa.



Nucor’s carbon emission intensity of its steel mills in 2021 was 0.43tCO2e, down 8.5% year on year. The company aims to achieve a 35% reduction of carbon emission intensity by 2030, equating to approximately 0.385tCO2e, from 2015 base year. Nucor intends to be net zero by 2050.

Nucor’s entire steelmaking assets are electric arc furnace based thus, having an immediate advantage for green steel production compared to traditional BF/BOF technology. General Motor was Nucor’s first customer of ECONIQ net zero steel with its delivery in January 2022. ECONIQ steel will extend its greenhouse gas emissions by utilising 100% renewable energy and high-quality carbon offsets to neutralise the remaining production emissions

The company has been investing in various game changing technologies to achieve its carbon emission goals. These include Electra, NuScale and Danieli. Nucor has made an equity investment in Electra, a start-up company developing a process for carbon-free iron technology.

The technology utilises Low-Temperature Iron (LTI) solution that emits zero carbon emissions using low grade ores and intermittent renewable electricity. Electra has created a process of electrochemically refine ore into pure iron at 60 degrees Celsius, the final iron product is ideal feedstock for EAF steelmaking.



In April last year, Nucor invested US$15m towards small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear plants in conjunction with NuScale Power. The capital investment from Nucor will support the path to commercialisation of NuScale Power’s proprietary and innovation SMR technology.

The company believes the continued development of small modular nuclear reactors is vital to ensure carbon-free and baseload power. The decision to invest in NuScale Power Module technology is consist with Nucor’s sustainability goals given they are a significant energy consumer and require safe and reliable sources of power generation.

Nucor has selected Danieli Technologies to supply and install the 0.54Mtpa liquid steel capacity melt shop at Kingman, Arizona. The unit will feature new Danieli Digimelter and Digirefiner units, with both units powered by Q-One power feeder which makes use of semiconductor devices.

Once operational the melt shop will be the most advanced on the market with digital melt shop robotics and technology packages. This includes Q-Robot Melt and Q-Robot LF with perform automatic sampling at EAF and LF. Investment in the new melt shop will be US$100m with commissioning planned for September quarter 2024.



For the 2021 fiscal year Thyssenkrupp’s GHG emissions were 24.5tCO2e, up 8% year on year. Thyssenkrupp plans to reduce carbon emission by 30% in 2030 (from 2018) and become carbon neutral in 2050. Its climate neutral strategies include Carbon, Capture and Utilisation (CCU) technologies, such as Carbon2Chem.

This technology utilise gas from the steelmaking process as a raw material from chemical production. Essentially. the aim is to capture unavoidable carbon emissions from the basic oxygen furnaces and convert them to methanol for the chemicals industry. Thyssenkrupp believes Carbon2Chem will take about 15 years before the concept can be applied on an industrial scale.

Thyssenkrupp are experience are providing high efficiency, world scale water electrolysis. These units are typically 10MW or 20WM modules. The company suggest the demand for industrial electrolysis plants allowing green hydrogen to be produced economically is rising steadily. Thyssenkrupp is aiming for a 5GW supply chain.

Green hydrogen will be used for in where possible for its blast furnaces where possible and gradually transition its four coal-fired blast furnaces to four green hydrogen DRI units paired with four electrical melting units. These DRI and melting units can be paired with a basic oxygen furnace, much like in traditional blast furnace steelmaking.

Thyssenkrupp will replace one blast furnace with a 1.2Mtpa DRI plant running on natural gas, and later green hydrogen, paired with a melting unit from 2025. Another blast furnace will be replaced by 2029 and all four will be replaced by 2045 (Duisburg’s current blast furnace capacity is 11.7Mtpa). The company’s decarbonisation strategy will require total investment US$12bn and be completed by 2045.



Voestalpine plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. The company intends to shut down its BF/BOF steelmaking operations to construct EAFs, by 2030 using renewable energy. Voestalpine expects to complete replace coal with hydrogen as the reduction agent by 2050. 

Voestalpine will construct transition capacity of 5.7Mtpa crude steel at Linz and 1.65Mtpa at capacity Donawitz. The transition will commence from 2027 and be fully commissioned by 2035. This plan depends, in part, upon the Austrian government achieving its target of 100% green electricity by 2030.

Since 2017, the company has operated a 2Mtpa hot briquetted iron (HBI) facility in Texas in the US, which ships to its Austrian steel mills. This facility is inadequate to fully replace blast furnace production of pig iron for Voestalpine’s crude steel production.

As a result, it is also developing a project in Donawitz known as Hydrogen-based fine-ore reduction (HYFOR). The resulting hot sponge iron could be fed into an EAF or made into HBI. By partnering with Primetals Technologies, HYFOR can process iron ore concentrates fines with particles sizes smaller than 0.15mm and can also process hematite and magnetite.


Final Thoughts

Green steel products do not directly benefit consumers in relation to better quality, improved performance, and cost reduction. According to JFE Steel, environmental awareness of its Japanese citizens is low. More incentives are required to encourage the value of products which have significantly reduced carbon. In the medium term, as demand for green steel increases the demand for grey steel will reduce.    

A company’s decarbonisation strategy is consistent with the country’s net zero plans. Europe will lead the green steel transition followed by the US due to a large proportion of steelmaking already consisting of EAF technology, along with readily availability of domestic scrap in the market. 

When steel producers decide to keep assets of BF/BOF, the transition to hydrogen-based steelmaking is expected to mostly occur between 2040-2050. Smart Carbon Usage is another option for decarbonisation, by substituting coal with renewable carbon sources.

ArcelorMittal has a smart carbon project of Torero which utilise renewable energy from waste wood and waste plastic. The company has an industrial-scale demonstration plant at Gent, Belgium steelworks. Production from reactor #1 commenced last year, with commission of reactor #2 planned for 2024. Each reactor will produce 40kt of bio-coal annually.