COP27: Alliance outlines six key pillars to enable industrial decarbonisation

Having adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015 and committed to meeting Net Zero goals at COP26 in Glasgow last year, a range of energy intensive sectors proposed plans, policies and actions detailing their methods to reduce carbon footprints and accelerate towards a carbon-neutral world. At COP27, held in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt, the newly formed Alliance for Industry Decarbonisation outlined six key areas to accelerate decarbonisation.

Under the theme ‘Decarbonisation Day’, the fourth day of COP27 saw top executives from the 28 member companies and knowledge partners of the Alliance for Industry Decarbonisation hold the group’s maiden meeting. Formed of leading companies across all industry sectors, the meeting focused on six pillars and enablers of the energy transition.

By deploying renewables such as solar and wind, green hydrogen, bioenergy with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (BECCS), heat process optimisation, human capital and finance across the industrial sector, the Alliance hopes to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C.

With more than 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nearly 40% of global energy consumption, the industry sector is the second largest emitter after power generation.

At the Alliance’s first round table, Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, called for industry leaders to commit to climate action, adding, “We have less than a decade left to secure a fighting chance for a 1.5C world,” before welcoming eight new members to the Alliance.

The Alliance was formed last September by founding members IRENA and Siemens Energy at the G20 Investment Forum on Energy Transition in Bali, Indonesia. Other founding members include Enel Green Power, Technip Energies, EDF Renewables, JSW, Repsol, and Tata Steel.

Responsible for 7% of global CO2 emissions, the steel industry in particular will require the increased use of electricity, hydrogen and CCUS to support its decarbonisation.

“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues that humankind is facing today. The heavy industries are responsible for a considerable share of the total CO2 emissions in the world today,” said T.V. Narendran, CEO & MD of Tata Steel.

“We need to recognise our obligation to work towards mitigation of climate change-related risks and strive to reduce our carbon footprint.”

An open meeting at the event held today (11th Nov) outlined potential ways for industry to support widespread industrial decarbonisation of steel. The discussion, ‘Accelerating the way towards decarbonising the steel industry’ outlined various efforts being made globally to reduce emissions in steel production.

One such method is the Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology (HYBRIT), a solution being developed in Sweden by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to create the first fossil-free steel. According to the developers, HYBRIT has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total CO2 emissions by at least 10%.

Starting its journey in 2016, SSAB prioritised its R&D efforts to develop a ‘breakthrough’ technology to make CO2 from iron ore without CO2 emissions.

Speaking at the event, Martin Pei, Head of Technical Development at SSAB, said that the company wanted to explore methods of making steel without relying on traditional blast furnace methods, adding, “We decided to make a significant research programme using fossil-free hydrogen and go the direct reduction route to test making fossil-free steel at commercial scale.”

“We created the HYBRIT initiative and, so far, we have invested about $200m over the last five years. With this technology, we can make a better product at a lower cost.”

Having previously committed to making SSAB fossil-free by 2045, earlier this year the company decided it would forward its deadline to 2030, by which it intends to phase out all five blast furnaces by 2030.

“According to SSAB, test results have shown that direct reduction of iron ore using hydrogen offers a ‘superior product’ that is easy to handle, transport and store, while also eliminating CO2 emissions in the process.

When completed, the partners claim that LKAB’s transition, with the help of HYBRIT technology, will reduce emissions in the global steel industry by 40-50 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

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