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Decarbonization scenarios for the iron and steel industry in context of a sectoral carbon budget: Germany as a case study

Harpprecht, Carina and Naegler, Tobias and Steubing, Bernhard and Tukker, Arnold and Simon, Sonja (2022) Decarbonization scenarios for the iron and steel industry in context of a sectoral carbon budget: Germany as a case study. Journal of Cleaner Production. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.134846. ISSN 0959-6526.

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CO2 emissions from global steel production may jeopardize climate goals of 1.5 °C unless current steel production practices will be rapidly decarbonized. At present, primary iron and steel production is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, primarily coke. This study aims to determine which decarbonization pathways can achieve the strongest emission reductions of the iron and steel industry in Germany by 2050. Moreover, we estimate whether the German iron and steel industry will be able to stay within its sectoral carbon budgets for a 1.5 °C or 1.75 °C target. We developed three decarbonization scenarios for German steel production: an electrification, coal-exit, and a carbon capture and storage (CCS) scenario. They describe a phase-out of coal-fired production plants and an introduction of electricity-based, low-carbon iron production technologies, i.e. hydrogen-based direct reduction and electrowinning of iron ore. The scenarios consider the age and lifetimes of existing coal-based furnaces, the maturity of emerging technologies, and increasing recycling shares. Based on specific energy requirements and reaction-related emissions per technology, we calculated future CO2 emissions of future steel production in Germany. We found that under the decarbonization scenarios, annual CO2 emissions decrease by up to 83% in 2050 relative to 2020. The reductions of cumulative emissions by 2050 range from 24% (360 Mt CO2) under the electrification scenario up to the maximum of 46% (677 Mt CO2) under the CCS scenario compared to a reference scenario. This clearly demonstrates that the technology pathway matters. Nevertheless, the German steel sector will exceed its sectoral CO2 budget for a 1.5 °C warming scenario between 2023 and 2037. Thus, drastic measures are required very soon to sufficiently limit future CO2 emissions from German steel production, such as, a rapid decarbonization of the electricity mix, the construction of a hydrogen and CCS infrastructure, or early shutdowns of current coal-based furnaces.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/191247/
Document Type:Article
Additional Information:This research was funded by the Helmholtz Initiative Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, Cluster I “Net-Zero-2050”.
Title:Decarbonization scenarios for the iron and steel industry in context of a sectoral carbon budget: Germany as a case study
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Harpprecht, CarinaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2878-0139UNSPECIFIED
Naegler, TobiasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-2390-1672UNSPECIFIED
Steubing, BernhardUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1307-6376UNSPECIFIED
Tukker, ArnoldUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8229-2929UNSPECIFIED
Simon, SonjaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-2775-5457UNSPECIFIED
Date:20 December 2022
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Cleaner Production
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Keywords:Green iron and steel industry; CO2 emissions; Climate change mitigation; Carbon budget; Hydrogen direct reduction; Electrowinning
HGF - Research field:Energy
HGF - Program:Energy System Design
HGF - Program Themes:Digitalization and System Technology
DLR - Research area:Energy
DLR - Program:E SY - Energy System Technology and Analysis
DLR - Research theme (Project):E - Energy System Technology
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Networked Energy Systems > Energy Systems Analysis
Deposited By: Harpprecht, Carina
Deposited On:02 Dec 2022 10:22
Last Modified:02 Apr 2024 15:27

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