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Green Steel: Synergies between the Australian Iron Ore Industry and the Production of Green Industry


Green steel, produced using renewable energy and hydrogen, presents a promising avenue to decarbonize steel manufacturing and expand the hydrogen industry. Australia, endowed with abundant renewable resources and iron ore deposits, is ideally placed to support this global effort. This paper's two-step analytical approach offers the first comprehensive assessment of Australia's potential to develop green steel as a value-added export commodity. The Economic Fairways modelling reveals a strong alignment between prospective hydrogen hubs and current and future iron ore operations, enabling shared infrastructure development and first-mover advantages. By employing a site-based system optimization that integrates both wind and solar power sources, the cost of producing green steel could decrease significantly to around AU$900 per tonne by 2030 and AU$750 per tonne by 2050. Moreover, replacing 1% of global steel production would require 35 GW of well-optimized wind and solar photovoltaics, 11 GW of hydrogen electrolysers, and 1000 square kilometres of land. Sensitivity analysis further indicates that iron ore prices would exert a long-term influence on green steel prices. Overall, this study highlights the opportunities and challenges facing the Australian iron ore industry in contributing to the decarbonization of the global steel sector, underscoring the crucial role of government support in driving the growth and development of the green steel industry.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Australia

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