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Nucor pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in steel mills

The company says it plans to lower its emissions intensity to 77 percent below today’s global average.

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Nucor Corp., a steel manufacturing company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategy that will lower its GHG emissions intensity of steel mills to 77 percent less than today’s global average. 

Nucor says it is committed to an additional 35 percent combined reduction in the scope one and scope two GHG emissions intensity of its steel mills by 2030. This commitment will be measured against a 2015 baseline, the year the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted. 

According to a news release from Nucor, its GHG emissions are 0.47 tons of CO2 per ton of steel. This compares with a global average of 1.69 tons and an integrated steelmaking average of 2.15 tons. The company says that steel mill GHG emission intensity will be 0.38 tons of CO2 per ton of steel by 2030.

Nucor will also continue to report and reduce its scope three GHG emissions associated with raw materials. Beyond 2030, Nucor says it will further reduce its GHG emissions to a goal of net-zero emission steel at scale.

“The green economy is being built on steel,” says Leon Topalian, president and CEO of Nucor. “As an electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaker and North America’s largest recycler, Nucor is already a world leader in sustainable steel. Our GHG intensity is less than one-third of the world average, but we are committed to going further. Steel will continue to be essential material for our nation’s economy, and Nucor is proving that it can be produced in a sustainable way to help the world meet its climate goals.”

Nucor is adopting a multipronged approach to reducing its steel mill GHG emissions. By actively supporting the development of new renewable energy sources, Nucor says it is helping to accelerate the transition of the domestic power grid to a sustainable, lower-carbon future. Nucor will also implement new energy efficiency projects, pursue carbon capture and storage and explore ways to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its raw materials mix.

The company says it continues to invest in new recycled steel facilities that are essential to building out the infrastructure needed to assure the United States’ clean energy future. Nucor’s plate steel mill in Brandenburg, Kentucky, will be one of only a few mills in the world capable of supporting the offshore wind market’s towers and foundations. 

The company also recently announced a tube mill project in Kentucky that will supply galvanized solar torque tubes to the nation’s expanding solar energy markets. In addition, Nucor is investing to produce third-generation advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) products that will allow vehicles to meet stricter mileage standards and reduce their life cycle emissions. 

“For more than 50 years, Nucor has been built on a sustainable model of recycling steel to produce new steel and steel products, and we continue to push recycled steel into products where it was never considered viable,” Topalian says. “While most of the world still relies on higher emitting technologies of the past, we are continuing to lead the way with steel as a building block for a modern, greener economy.”