Chris McDonald, the Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute, has welcomed the support of politicians from all sides in the creation of a green steel industry.
He was speaking after Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband pledged that Labour would invest up to £3billion to decarbonise the sector as part of its plans for the green industrial revolution.
Chris McDonald said: “The transition to green steel delivers a double benefit through decarbonisation to meet net zero commitments alongside new productivity gains that will transform the international competitiveness of UK steel.
“Britain’s competitors in Germany, Canada, China and beyond are putting the investment in now to support the transition to green steel through hydrogen and electric arc furnaces so the UK steel industry will welcome the drive to embed modernisation in this country too.
“Innovation to deliver the new technologies essential for green steel is fundamental to the Institute’s work in Redcar, including our PRISM programme focused on decarbonisation, digital technologies and the circular economy.
“Therefore, I welcome the ambition for government and steel companies to work in partnership to deliver a step change for the British steel industry that will make us amongst the greenest and most competitive in the world.
Last year the government awarded the Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute £22m to lead a five-year research and innovation programme to revolutionise the steel and metals sector.
The projects include: the development of low carbon, electric and hydrogen-based steelmaking, scrap recycling and new sustainable processes; new technologies for the extraction and recycling or rare metals, and the development and commercialisation of technologies in the SME supply chain to increase productivity and product capability.
Both electric arc technology and hydrogen would replace the need to produce steel using highly polluting coal-fired blast furnaces and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign steel. Electric arc furnaces also use high currents to melt down scrap steel, which, burns off impurities to convert it into liquid steel.