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Process of Transformation to Net Zero Steelmaking: Decarbonisation Scenarios Based on the Analysis of the Polish Steel Industry


The European steel industry is experiencing new challenges related to the market situation and climate policy. Experience from the period of pandemic restrictions and the effects of Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine has given many countries a basis for including steel along with raw materials (coke, iron ore, electricity) in economic security products (CRMA). Steel is needed for economic infrastructure and construction development as well as a material for other industries (without steel, factories will not produce cars, machinery, ships, washing machines, etc.). In 2022, steelmakers faced a deepening energy crisis and economic slowdown. The market situation prompted steelmakers to impose restrictions on production volumes (worldwide production fell by 4% compared to the previous year). Despite the difficult economic situation of the steel industry (production in EU countries fell by 11% in 2022 compared to the previous year), the EU is strengthening its industrial decarbonisation policy (“Fit for 55”). The decarbonisation of steel production is set to accelerate by 2050. To sharply reduce carbon emissions, steel mills need new steelmaking technologies. The largest global, steelmakers are already investing in new technologies that will use green hydrogen (produced from renewable energy sources). Reducing iron ore with hydrogen plasma will drastically reduce CO2 emissions (steel production using hydrogen could emit up to 95% less CO2 than the current BF + BOF blast furnace + basic oxygen furnace integrated method). Investments in new technologies must be tailored to the steel industry. A net zero strategy (deep decarbonisation goal) may have different scenarios in different EU countries. The purpose of this paper was to introduce the conditions for investing in low-carbon steelmaking technologies in the Polish steel market and to develop (based on expert opinion) scenarios for the decarbonisation of the Polish steel industry.

Funding source: This research was funded by Silesian University of Technology: 11/040/BK_223/0029, 11/040/RGJ23/0032 and 13/010/RGJ23/0074.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Poland ; United States

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