Tag Archives: green steel

Fortescue’s Forrest opens up about iron ore miner’s ‘green steel’ ambitions

Fortescue Metals Group Chairman and founder, Dr Andrew Forrest (pictured), has revealed the iron ore miner has plans to build Australia’s first “green steel” pilot plant this year.

A commercial plant, powered entirely by wind and solar, could be constructed in the next few years he said in the first Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Boyer Lecture for 2021, entitled: ‘Oil vs Water: Confessions of a Carbon Emitter’.

In a wide-ranging talk, he acknowledge that Fortescue was trialling both known methods of making “zero-carbon-steel” without the use of coal in Australia: replacing coal in the furnace with ‘green hydrogen’ and adding carbon separately to strengthen the steel, and “zap[ping] the ore with renewable electricity”.

On the development of such an industry, Forrest said: “We could look at losing our coal industry as a national disaster – yet, I’ve always believed, out of every setback, is the seed of equal or greater opportunity.

“We produce over 40% of the world’s iron ore. And our potential green energy and hydrogen resources are immeasurable.

“If Australia were to capture just 10% of the world’s steel market, we could generate well over 40,000 jobs – more than what’s required to replace every job in the coal industry.”

Fortescue, through its Fortescue Future Industries company, has been signing agreements to leverage hydro-electric power and geothermal energy to become one of the “world’s largest green energy and product businesses”, Forrest said.

“We’re now undertaking feasibility studies that could lead to some 300 GW of power – more than four times what Australia can produce,” he explained.

Forrest also mentioned some of the decarbonisation work Fortescue is currently working on.

Back in December, Fortescue Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, announced the company was working on developing an in-house, non-diesel 240 t haul truck prototype that will test both battery-electric and fuel-cell electric drivetrain technology in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Seemingly referencing this project, Forrest said: “By the end of the decade, our trucks will run on renewable energy. Imagine that: a fleet of vehicles that produces nothing more than steam as exhaust.”

He also said the company was aiming to develop “green iron ore trains” powered by either renewable electricity or “green ammonia”.

Looking at the company’s shipping operations, he said 2021 would see the company “begin to settle designs” that allow its ships to run on “zero-pollution, green ammonia”.

He added: “And we’re willing to share that knowledge, to help our competitors go green too – including Vale, one of the largest mining companies in the world.”

BHP and China Baowu take on steel industry GHG emission reduction challenge

BHP has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with leading steel producer, China Baowu, with the intention, it says, to invest up to $35 million and share technical knowledge to help address the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions facing the global steel industry.

The five-year partnership will focus on the development of low carbon technologies and pathways capable of emission intensity reduction in integrated steelmaking, according to BHP. Under the MoU, the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage in the steel sector will also be investigated at one of China Baowu’s production bases.

BHP’s investment will be funded under the $400 million Climate Investment Program, set up last year to coordinate and prioritise projects, partnerships, R&D and venture investments to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, offsets and support development of technologies with the highest potential to impact change.

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry (pictured left), said the companies would collaborate on technical solutions to use low carbon fuel sources such as hydrogen injection in the blast furnace, and explore other low emission options in support of China Baowu and the steel industry’s low carbon transformation and green development goals.

“This MoU further strengthens our longstanding relationship with China Baowu and reflects our joint determination and commitment to help reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals,” Henry said.

“BHP will invest in supporting the development of low emissions technologies, promote product stewardship and partner with others to enhance the global policy and market response to climate change. Our investments are focused on actions that can create real change in emissions.”

In September, BHP awarded a tender for world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier to carry iron ore between Western Australia and China, which will reduce emissions by more than 30% per voyage.

In October 2019, China Baowu, meanwhile, announced the establishment of a Low Carbon Metallurgy Innovation Centre and plans to establish a Global Low Carbon Metallurgy Innovation Alliance.

China Baowu Chairman, Chen Derong, said the MoU with BHP will further enhance and broaden the existing strategic partnership between the companies, and establish a model of joint industrial efforts to promote technological innovation and a sustainable transition to a lower carbon world.

“At the UN General Assembly, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech that outlined China’s low carbon transformation and development,” Chen Derong said. “Low carbon transition and green development represent a major disruption to the traditional steelmaking value chain.

“As a leading company in the sector, China Baowu will take an active role in implementing low carbon technologies, working together with upstream and downstream partners.

“The global steel industry needs an open platform to jointly explore low carbon technology and roadmaps, as well as showcase to the world the efforts to reshape the steelmaking value chain.”

Consistent with the ambitions of China Baowu and BHP to drive efficiency and address emissions across the global steel industry, both companies will work together to establish a China Baowu-BHP Low Carbon Metallurgy Knowledge Sharing Center, to link complementary research and share low carbon and green development knowledge with domestic and international steel industry stakeholders, the two companies said.