The Düsseldorf, Germany-based Federal Association of German Steel Recycling Companies (BDSV) has criticized the extension of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) “free rights” for the steel industry by a further 10 years until 2035. The CO2 target is part of the EU Commission’s “Fit for 55” climate regulatory package.
“Maintaining the competitiveness of key industries is a deadly argument: Our industry has long been offering a real resource and climate-friendly alternative for the steel industry with high-quality recycled steel scrap as a raw material,” states BDSV General Manager Thomas Junker.
Adds Junker, “If we really want to operate climate-neutral in Germany and the EU by 2050, we do not need any further CO2 free tickets for the steel industry, but rather incentives for companies to increasingly use secondary raw materials and invest in future technologies in the circular economy, because green steel is made from scrap. The extension of the free CO2 rights is irresponsible in terms of climate policy. There must be no ‘stay the course,’ especially since there are good alternatives.”
The name Fit for 55 refers to the planned savings of at least 55 percent of CO2 emissions compared to 1990 in the EU by 2030 (savings of 40 percent are planned by 2030). The climate package consists of 12 individual laws. The BDSV says from its point of view, the possible contribution of the circular economy to achieving climate targets remains well below the existing potential.
In addition to what the BDSV calls cost-intensive technological leaps toward decarbonization being explored by the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) and blast furnace sector of the steel industry, the increased use of steel scrap melted via electric arc furnaces (EAFs) “can represent a technically mature measure for climate protection that can be implemented with comparatively little investment.”
Using the EAF process, “steel scrap only can be used to produce new steel. Consequently, an almost completely closed raw material cycle could be achieved, which would also have positive effects on the climate balance of Germany and Europe,” states BDSV.
The association says the new technologies being explored by BOF operators also means “a significant increase in the use of scrap is still possible, especially since Europe is a net steel scrap exporter and the global steel scrap volume will increase by 70 percent by 2050. Increasing the use of steel scrap is therefore entirely possible and imperative in terms of climate protection policy.”