Plant-level mitigation strategies could enable carbon neutrality by 2060 and reduce non-CO2 emissions in China's iron and steel sector

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 5, 19 August 2022
Li Z., Hanaoka T.

Achieving carbon neutrality in the hard-to-abate iron and steel industry requires feasible mitigation at the plant level. Presently, decarbonization pathways are mainly assessed at the country or sector level, whereas plant specifics and regional differences in socioeconomic conditions have been underexplored. Here, we take China, the world's largest iron and steel producer, as an example and assess decarbonization pathways at the plant level using a provincial AIM/Enduse model. Our results reveal that a mix of tax policy, environmental policy, and low-carbon electricity generation can transform the iron and steel production and energy structure. It is feasible that by 2060 renewable and hydrogen-sourced energy could contribute as much as 86% of total consumed energy and CO2 emissions could decrease by 83%, relative to 2015, with co-benefits associated with a reduction in air pollutants and mercury emissions. Further implementation of carbon capture and storage, waste energy recycling, and electric arc furnaces could bring China's iron and steel industry closer to carbon neutrality.