February 29, 2024

Green Steel: recent advances

green steel

For some years now, steel producers have been aiming to reduce their carbon footprint, in response to demands from their customers and various stakeholders (governments, environmental groups, etc.). In Quebec, and more widely in North America, a number of companies are seeking to position themselves in this field, seeing potential for development and applications in several sectors (automotive, construction, energy, shipyards, etc.).

Significant regional disparities

The production of green steel worldwide has become a major concern in the steel industry. Companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable practices. This transition to more environmentally-friendly steel production requires significant investment in research and development of new technologies.

On a global scale, green steel production projects, which currently include over 50 programs and entities dedicated to industrial applications of this concept, appear to be concentrated in Europe, while a dozen or so similar projects are under study in North America. 

Pressure from governments and steel manufacturers is also strong on the other side of the Atlantic. In Europe, 25% of steel requirements must be covered by green production by 2030, and multinationals such as IKEA, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Scania are signing contracts to supply green steel in order to achieve carbon neutrality over the next few years.

Increasingly stringent environmental standards are forcing steel producers to rethink their production methods. Their manufacturing customers are facing the same situation. These large companies are obviously concerned about Scope 3, which defines a very broad perimeter for the inclusion of indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and need to find ways of incorporating green steel into their production. Steel producer Arcelor Mittal, for example, is proposing to certify part of its production in Europe, thereby transferring the CO2 savings to its customers, with the support of an independent body.

In short, it's important to bear in mind that the vast majority of the world's steel production comes from China. While the latter also appears to be interested in more environmentally-friendly production, it is important to point out that considerable efforts will have to be made in terms of sustainable investment to transform steel production in this country, which is still largely dependent on coal.


The evolution of green technologies: maintaining a technological watch

Green technologies have seen a remarkable evolution in the green steel industry. New processes and equipment enable more environmentally-friendly and efficient production. 

Although steel production is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, solutions already exist to reduce its footprint, such as the use of electric arc furnaces instead of coal-fired blast furnaces. At the same time, "direct reduction" has been widely used for decades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in steel production.   With no fewer than a dozen technical options currently available, and new ones under development at various points in the steel production chain, it is up to companies in the field and their customers to keep a constant watch on technologies to effectively reduce these emissions. 

While classic sources such as Stainless Steel World, Steel Times International and Metal World Insight can help keep track of new technologies in the field, other increasingly specialized sources are also of interest: Metal Magazine now has its own section on green steel, Green Steel World focuses on the field in question. 

A number of summits and symposia should also be included in a green steel technology watch, with particular attention paid to the various technical presentations and conferences given by researchers and experts in this field: International Iron Ore 2024 Conference / Green Steel Summit; The 2nd European Green Steel Summit 2024, etc.

In conclusion, we also need to keep an eye on the biggest companies in the field (ArcelorMittal, HBIS Group, Shagang Group, Nippon Steel Corporation, POSCO, SSAB and its HYBRIT project, etc.) as well as innovative new players such as H2 Green Steel, Boston Metal and Electra, whose cutting-edge technologies could reduce the carbon footprint of steel production by over 75%.


1. Le Québec peut devenir un leader mondial de «l'acier vert»


2. Green Steel Is Coming. Europe Is Leading the Charge Thanks to New Carbon Taxes.


3. L'achat de la certification XCarb® Eco Steel transmet officiellement une réduction appropriée des émissions de CO2 à partir du Scope 3, conformément au GHG Protocol (GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard).


4. China’s 3 Pathways to Green Steel


5. Transition to Net Zero : Steel


6. Comparing “green steel” technologies: a scorecard based on CO2 reductions.