Five blast furnace companies have joined together to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the steel industry by 30%.

Nippon Steel, JFE Steel, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Kobe Steel and Nisshin Steel, as well as Nippon Steel Engineering, have joined together to create and drive forward the ‘Development of Environmental Technology for Steel making Process’ project.

The project involves development of technology to reduce CO2 emissions from blast furnaces, and the development of CO2 gas separation and recovery technology.

With support from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Organisation (NEDO), phase one of the project is planned to be conducted between now and 2017. For the first half of phase one, from 2008 to 2012, ¥10bn has been set aside, and for the 2013 to 2017 period, a further ¥15bn in aid is expected to be allotted.

The greatest challenge is considered to be the development of technology for using hydrogen for the reduction of iron ore, or put more simply, technology for using hydrogen as the reduction agent to reduce the amount of coke inserted into the blast furnace.

In terms of the CO2 separation and recovery mission, it has been decided that research will be conducted using PSA for the physical adsorption method and an amino type absorbent solution for the chemical absorption method.

The Chief Researcher at the NEDO, Mr Shunichi Yauchi commented on the project, he said, “70% of the amount of CO2 emitted from the steel mills is accounted for by the blast furnaces. Therefore, not just recovery of the gas emitted but also holding down of the gas emitted is also very important.”

“Development should be promoted also by bringing in sight the refurbishing of the blast furnaces and coke ovens currently in operation,” he added.