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  • Energy and climate change

    Arguably our most significant environmental impact is through the energy we consume and the carbon dioxide we produce in our processes.

    Carbon 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 energy in our operations which results in further emissions of carbon dioxide. As this is an important greenhouse gas, we monitor our emissions very closely and implement schemes to reduce them.

    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.

    Energy efficiency

    Apart from carbon dioxide emitted from the steel-making process, as with any other industrial operation, we use energy for a variety of needs and this has an associated degree of carbon emissions. Each of our steelmaking sites has established a dedicated energy optimisation resource, and a central team supports the experts at all of our sites worldwide.

    In April 2010 we commissioned a £60m energy efficiency scheme at our Port Talbot site in the UK, involving the capture and reuse of gas from the BOS plant. This is shortly to be followed up by a £50m scheme to re-use waste heat on the same site.

    A comprehensive energy efficiency programme was introduced at our IJmuiden site in the Netherlands with the assistance of specialist consultants. The intensive programme has already identified €35 million (US$47 million) of energy savings per year (achievable by 2014/15) and work will continue to cover the entire site. We have signed a voluntary agreement with the Dutch government to achieve a year-on-year improvement in energy efficiency of two per cent, including downstream product life cycle benefits, through both our processes and products.

    In 2010, we improved our energy efficiency at IJmuiden by four per cent compared to 2008. Meanwhile, in the UK, our absolute energy consumption during 2010/11 was some 46 per cent lower than during 1997

    The Future

    We are a leading member of ULCOS (Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking) – a pioneering partnership of 48 companies and organisations from 15 European countries that recently completed the first phase of a cooperative research initiative to achieve a step change in CO2 emissions from steel-making. The ultimate and ambitious aim of the ULCOS project, which began in 2004 and is supported by the European Commission, is to reduce CO2 emissions per tonne of steel produced by at least 50 per cent by 2050.

    In 2010, as a part of the ULCOS project, we built a €20 million HIsarna pilot plant at our IJmuiden steelworks in the Netherlands. HIsarna is a revolutionary cyclone converter-based iron-making process, directly converting iron ore and coal into iron, without any pre-treatment of the ore and coal. The new technology could reduce CO2 emissions by 20 per cent compared to conventional ironmaking. In combination with carbon capture and storage techniques, CO2 reductions of up to 70 per cent should be possible.

    Climate change

    At Tata Steel we will play a leadership role in tackling climate change.

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    Climate change policy

    Governments also need to take action to minimize man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

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    Climate change strategy

    Tata Steel will be part of the solution and will achieve a leading position within the steel industry whilst creating value.

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