…Steel, Cement, and CO2…
In the drive to cut CO2 emissions, industrial emissions of CO2 represent a huge hurdle.
Important industrial processes, such as the making of steel and cement, produce large quantities of CO2. The steel industry accounts for 7% of worldwide CO2 emissions, while producing cement accounts for 5%.
The German steel industry is being forced to address the issue because of Germany’s goal to cut CO2 emissions by 90%.
Salzgitter, a large German steel producer, is developing a “technically feasible but not economically viable” concept to replace fossil fuels, mostly coal used in blast furnaces, with hydrogen. And the hydrogen will be produced by wind farms using electrolysis.
But Salzgitter isn’t proceeding with the replacement of its blast furnaces because it can’t do so without government intervention.
It requires $1.5 billion in government subsidies just to begin making the required investment, and the steel that’s produced is far more expensive than steel made using coal.
In other words, Salzgitter must invest large sums in processes that are more expensive than existing processes which results in making steel that can’t be sold in a competitive market.
Salzgitter advertisement showing steel that is the same but different with 95% of the CO2 removed in 2050.
This proposal for converting steel production from fossil fuels to hydrogen is part of the hydrogen fantasy as described in the recent article, A Hydrogen Fantasy. (There won’t be enough wind and solar to support replacing fossil fuels for the generation of electricity, plus all the other needs, such as steel production.)
The next most important industrial contributor to C02 emissions is the making of cement.
In this case, much of the CO2 is from the material itself, while some of it comes from the fuel needed to create the heat that’s required to convert limestone to cement.
Quoting from an article on cement, “The primary component of cement is limestone. To produce cement, limestone and other clay-like materials are heated in a kiln at 1400°C and then ground to form a lumpy, solid substance called clinker; clinker is then combined with gypsum to form cement.”
Heating limestone releases CO2 directly, while the burning of fossil fuels to heat the kiln also results in CO2 emissions.
Roughly 50% of the overall emissions of CO2 from the making of cement are from the limestone, and these emissions are nearly impossible to eliminate.
Steel and cement represent materials that are ubiquitous in modern society. Both are used for building highways and skyscrapers, while steel is found in the equipment used for their construction as well as in automobiles and appliances.
Once again we see the futility of trying to eliminate CO2 emissions.
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