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Ministry of Steel Hosts National Workshop on Sustainability in Steel Sector

New Delhi: The Ministry of Steel today organized a National Workshop on “Forging Sustainability in the Steel Sector” at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The workshop aimed to promote sustainable practices within the steel industry, engaging stakeholders on critical issues such as emerging technologies and tools to mitigate environmental challenges. The inaugural session was graced by Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Steel, and Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), alongside officials from the Ministry of Steel & PSUs, industry experts, and other key stakeholders.

Driving the Dialogue on Sustainability

In his address, Nagendra Nath Sinha highlighted the importance of the workshop as a platform for continuing the dialogue between the Ministry of Steel and other governmental bodies like MoEFCC and NITI Aayog. He pointed out the urgency of addressing rising carbon emissions amid growing demand, noting that India’s per ton crude steel emission is 25% higher than the global average. This disparity is due to factors such as the lack of natural gas, the quality of available iron ore, and limited domestic scrap availability.

Task Force Initiatives

Sinha discussed the efforts of a task force comprising the Ministry of Mines and MoEFCC, focused on encouraging the beneficiation of low-grade iron ore for better steelmaking suitability. He also mentioned the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy for the auto sector, proposed by MoEFCC, to increase vehicle scrap availability.

Emission Control and Sustainability Efforts

Despite these challenges, Sinha emphasized the need for the steel industry to take proactive steps in reducing carbon emissions. He noted that 90% of emissions in steelmaking come from within factory gates (Scope 1), with the rest from electricity generation (Scope 2) and upstream processes (Scope 3). The industry, therefore, has significant control over its emissions and must act responsibly.

“While the Ministry will continue to provide guidance, it is imperative that the steel industry itself takes up the mantle as trustees of the Earth to work towards reducing emissions and promoting sustainability,” Sinha exhorted.

Formation of 14 Task Forces

The Ministry of Steel has formed 14 task forces to tackle various sustainability aspects in the steel industry. These include enhancing energy efficiency through advanced technology adoption, utilizing renewable energy sources, and exploring green hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies.

Water Consumption and Waste Management

Water consumption in steelmaking was identified as a critical area for improvement. Sinha noted that India’s water usage levels in this sector are higher compared to other countries, with ongoing efforts to reduce it. He also praised SEBI’s introduction of the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting Format, urging companies to report their sustainability practices and set medium-term goals.

Waste generation and its handling were also discussed, focusing on utilizing steel slag in construction and agriculture. Shri Sinha announced that results from ongoing projects in these areas would be released soon.

Marginal Abatement Cost Curve Toolkit

Sinha introduced the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) toolkit, which will help companies measure and prioritize carbon emission reduction technologies. This tool will aid in collecting high-quality emission data specific to individual processes and installations to meet international standards and regulations.

Collaborative Efforts for a Sustainable Future

Leena Nandan, Secretary, MoEFCC, spoke about India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2030, reflecting the country’s ambition to source 50% of its energy from non-fossil fuels and reduce emission intensity by 45%. She called for actionable collaborations and highlighted key initiatives like the India-Sweden Industrial Transition Initiative and the importance of circular economy practices.

She emphasized the need for international collaboration in sectors like green hydrogen and carbon capture, noting the importance of financing and technology to scale up green hydrogen use, making steel production more sustainable.

Future Discussions

The workshop’s remaining sessions discussed leveraging the MACC and disruptive technologies in the steel sector, emphasizing energy efficiency, carbon markets, and AI-based emission monitoring. This event marks a significant step towards sustainable development in the steel industry, aligning with global environmental goals.

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