Electrification will see significant reductions in use-phase emissions
So it is not surpirsing that the focus has turned to CO2 emissions during vehicle production, and in particular the emissions from the extraction and processing of the constituent materials. This is often known as the embodied carbon of the material or product.
Using steel as an example, embodied carbon describes the cumulative CO2 emissions of each of the production steps, from mining the iron ore to the where steel products are delivered to customers.
A vehicle’s embodied carbon is the total amount of carbon arising from the production of all the different materials used in its constituent parts.
Electrification and the phasing out of the internal combustion engine will lead to a shift in the relative contribution of steel to the overall embodied carbon of vehicles, with a larger contribution of the batteries but still a substantial contribution of the materials used in structural components, outer panels and battery casing.
How does embodied carbon impact the automotive supply chain?
CO2 is emitted during material extraction and production, and in the manufacture of parts and vehicle assembly. Vehicle manufacturers have control over CO2 emissions from part manufacture and assembly, but much of a vehicle's embodied carbon of a vehicle is inherited in the materials they purchased.
Carbon emissions are often described in terms of scopes:
- Scope 1 - covers direct emissions from the organisation’s own production processes
- Scope 2 - indirect emissions from purchased energy e.g. electricity
- Scope 3 - indirect emissions (not included in Scope 2) associated with the value chain. e.g. purchased materials
Within the automotive value chain, Tiers and OEMs are understandably interested in what is being done to reduce scope 3 emissions during the manufacture of the materials they purchase.
The pathway to carbon-neutral steelmaking
Steel is a critical material for a decarbonised future and will be in demand as the necessary infrastructure is built. Global demand for steel continues to exceed the availability of scrap and demand is predicted to grow for many years to come.
Until then, primary steel will continue to be required and so we are looking for a carbon-neutral solution to its production. We will ensure that we can continue to meet the exacting requirements of automotive steels throughout a transition that will make use of the increasing availability of scrap and renewable energy.
Which decarbonisation technology is most suitable, can vary across geographical locations, available infrastructure and over time. We will produce 100% carbon neutral steel by 2050 and by 2030 we will already reduce our CO2 emissions by 30-40%. We are already taking necessary actions in both the Netherlands and the UK to achieve our ambitious targets.
In the UK we are part of an industry network, the South Wales Industrial Cluster, which is developing plans for shared infrastructure and a hydrogen economy.
In IJmuiden (NL) we will be making green steel in a clean environment no later than 2030. This is 10 years earlier than we first had anticipated. This first step will combine direct reduction (DRI) with smelting capability by 2030 latest, reducing our CO2 emissions in IJmuiden by 30% - 40%. This is a powerful combination, delivering decarbonisation and further enhanced circularity. The plan is to transition directly to the production of virgin iron with hydrogen.
Tata Steel has signed an agreement with TenneT for a direct connection to the Dutch national electricity grid enabling use of green energy in the future. Building the necessary electrical infrastructure will commence in 2022.
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Aachen Body Engineering Days 2020
Dr. Karl Haider, CCO of Tata Steel Europe will be presenting at the 13th Aachener Karosserietage - 15th and 16th September 2020.
His paper is entitled 'Taking care of tomorrow – Sustainability in the automotive value chain'.