Sustainability performance at our sites

General

The city of tomorrow

Information on all of our sustainability policies and practices which are common across all of our sites, from which we serve the UK construction market.

We recognise that climate change is one of the most pressing issues the world faces today and have developed a vision in response to this challenge.

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General

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Resource use and waste management
  • Water extraction and use
  • Transport impacts
  • Employment and skills
  • Local communities

Greenhouse gas emissions

Carbon dioxide is a natural by-product of the steel-making process. Carbon, in the form of coke and coal, is used as a chemical reductant in the blast furnace to reduce iron oxide to iron. This turns the carbon into carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. When we burn gas produced in the blast furnace as a fuel to heat our processes, this produces more carbon dioxide.

Of course, we also use purchased energy products such as natural gas and electricity in our operations which results in further emissions of carbon dioxide, either on our sites or at the power stations generating the electricity we purchase.

We measure our CO2 intensity according to the World Steel Association methodology and report for the Tata Steel Group. The average carbon dioxide emissions performance of our steel-making sites is in the top 25% of the global steel industry, according to the latest worldsteel benchmarking data.

We recognise that climate change is one of the most pressing issues the world faces today and have developed a vision in response to this challenge. This states that Tata Steel is committed to being part of the solution and will achieve a leading position within the steel industry whilst creating value through:

  1. Continuing to improve its current processes
  2. Investing in breakthrough technologies
  3. Developing new products and services to reduce environmental impact over the product lifecycle, offsetting emissions in manufacture
  4. Actively engaging its workforce
  5. Further developing its pro-active role in global steel sector initiatives.

Points (1), (2) and (4) of this vision have the objective of reducing process CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing operations; as described below.

Improvements to current processes with respect to CO2 emissions include, where possible:

  • Burden management/productivity e.g. maximising production volume from existing plant, reducing fuel rate, use of higher grade ores/coals and using pellet rather than sinter. These changes are usually driven by production volume needs, process economics and product requirements.
  • Minimising iron consumption per tonne of finished product e.g. by increasing the scrap to (virgin) iron ratio; again, this is usually driven by process configuration/production volume needs. Maximising yield, especially in downstream processes, is also important here.
  • Implementing high CapEx projects using existing technology, e.g. high efficiency power stations, improved collection and use of the energy contained in by-product gases, blast furnace top gas recovery turbines.
  • Applying rigorous energy management e.g. advanced monitoring and targeting, better process control, high efficiency lighting and motors, variable speed drives, hot connect (between steel caster and rolling mill), improved employee engagement.
  • Regarding this last point, the company puts a strong emphasis on energy management and has in place an energy governance mechanism, led by the Chief Technical Officer and driven by the managing directors of the manufacturing hubs and group functions. Energy management policy is encompassed within a mandatory foundation policy on Environment that is core to the governance framework of the company.

At manufacturing sites, the policy requires the implementation of energy and environmental management systems. The latter must be certified to conform to the international standard ISO 14001. The energy management system may form part of the overall environmental management system, but must be in-line with the international standard ISO 50001 (or an approved equivalent) and is subject to internal audit by a pool of energy specialists and subject to senior management review.

The importance has been recognised of taking an holistic 'total cost of ownership' approach to drive the purchase of energy efficient equipment, to the extent that specific, detailed, company policies have been developed for the high-impact technologies such as energy efficient lighting and motors. These policies empower employees to make purchasing decisions based on total lifetime impact, rather than initial cost, and their quality has been recognised by the UK Carbon Trust.

An industry-leading system, ‘MoniCA’, for monitoring and targeting energy consumption and CO2 emissions, has also been developed. This has been used to compare actual performance with industry best practice; the improvement opportunity identified has driven manufacturing units to critically review and improve their energy reduction plans. MoniCA complements site-wide energy sub-metering systems. The latter allow consumption to be analysed in a greater level of detail, preferably through automated data logging facilities that record the variation in the rate of energy consumption with time. Such systems are a vital part of an energy management system.

In 2015 we set up a full-time team to deliver a five-year programme of Energy Efficiency Waves. Each Wave is an intensive 14-week process covering either part of one of our larger sites, or the whole of a smaller site. Working in close cooperation with people from all functions and departments, Wave teams conduct a comprehensive assessment of the energy performance of our operations to highlight areas of waste and improvement opportunities. A Wave comprises four phases: data gathering and analysis, ideas generation, measure development, implementation; delivering a prioritised plan of measures to give maximum business benefit. This programme has typically identified over 10 per cent cost reduction on the consumption of electricity, natural gas and technical gases (O2, N2, Ar etc.). Measures include more effective start-stop protocols, process optimisation, variable speed drives, efficient motors and lighting. As well as implementing technical improvements, strong emphasis is also placed on raising the awareness, engagement and motivation of employees on energy. It also embeds and sustains energy management practices, aligned to the international energy management standard ISO 50001.

However, with limited scope for achieving further substantial CO2 emission reductions from conventional ironmaking processes, a step-change in emissions can only be achieved by finding a completely new technological path for the production of hot metal, away from the blast furnace route. Tata Steel is playing a leading role to reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking. In 2010 Tata Steel Europe built the €20m HIsarna pilot plant at our IJmuiden integrated steelmaking site in the Netherlands. HIsarna’s revolutionary cyclone converter-based ironmaking process directly converts iron ore fines and coal into iron. This avoids the need for agglomeration (collection into a cluster or mass) pre-treatment of the ore via sintering or pellet making and the need for coke making from coal. This new technology could reduce CO2 emissions by 20 per cent compared to conventional ironmaking. Used in combination with carbon capture and storage techniques, it should be possible to achieve CO2 reductions of up to 80 per cent. The project is currently in its second phase. This aims to demonstrate HIsarna feasibility under large-scale, industrial production conditions. During this phase we will also assess the opportunity to use this technology to recover zinc from zinc coated steel scrap. If successful, this technology will contribute enormously to the creation of a low carbon, circular economy.

Point (4) of our vision recognises the importance of its workforce. To this end, there is a mature, global network of energy professionals across the wider Tata Steel group, who take part in a programme of meetings to facilitate the sharing of good practice. This led to the development of a highly successful energy-training course, specific to the needs of the steel industry, to equip employees with the tools to save energy in their own areas of influence.

Making energy consumption understandable, transparent and within the individual’s control is recognised as key to ensuring that each member of the wider work force actively contributes. To address this, there are local employee engagement initiatives, poster campaigns and a well established ‘Energy and Climate Change’ website on the company Intranet, to inspire people to take positive action to conserve energy.

CO2 Intensity, all TSE Steelmaking, worldsteel Scopes 1+2+3 (using verified EU-ETS data and other sources)

  2016 2017 2018 2019 
tCO2/tcs 1.95 1.97 1.98 1.98 

 

Resource use and waste management

Integrated steelmaking requires large amounts of raw materials such as iron ore and coal. It is vital that we continue to optimise our consumption of these raw materials by minimising waste and ensuring that our by-products meet tight quality control requirements so that they can be used in other industry sectors.

Our most significant by-product, in terms of volume, is blast furnace slag. This has now become a valuable raw material for the concrete industry, where it is used as a clinker substitute, thus reducing mineral extraction and CO2 emissions at the same time.

Steelmaking slag is used extensively in civil engineering and agricultural applications, and tar and benzole from our coke-making processes are used within the chemicals industry. We apply advanced techniques at all our integrated steelworks to extract valuable components such as iron and carbon, by reusing most of our residual materials through sinter plants, BOS plants and coke ovens. Some waste from our operations is unavoidable, but our aim is to ensure that as much as possible can be reused, recycled or recovered.

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