Top steelmaker kicks off low-carbon trial to meet green pledge

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The world’s biggest steelmaker is trialling a new technology that may cut carbon emissions by more than 30%.

China Baowu Steel Group has been trialling a low-carbon metallurgy technology at a previously idled 400-cubic-meter blast furnace in Xinjiang since June, Jiefang Daily reported on Wednesday, citing an interview with officials including Mao Xiaoming, assistant to the director of its central research institute. The company is using hydrogen and recycled gas and saw a 10% reduction in carbon emissions over 10 days, it said.

The reduction could rise to more than 30% eventually, the paper reported. A spokesperson for Baowu confirmed the newspaper report to Bloomberg News.

The company has pledged to reach peak carbon emissions in 2023, and be carbon neutral by 2050, with its moves likely to demonstrate how China’s mammoth steel sector will meet broader emissions-reductions targets. Authorities have already implemented a series of production restrictions to curb pollution, while the country has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2060.

The so-called rich hydrogen, carbon recycling technology is less effective at reducing carbon emissions than full-hydrogen metallurgy, but it is more easily able to be scaled up, according to the newspaper report.

The group is accelerating the drafting of its low-carbon metallurgy route, it said. It’s testing the use of microwaves during the sintering process, replacing coal, and plans to start building a 1-million-ton hydrogen-based vertical furnace in Zhanjiang province in the third quarter — that operation will use hydrogen generated from renewable energy.

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