Tenaris, Ternium, Techint Engineering & Construction, Tecpetrol and Tenova are making great efforts to minimize environmental footprint, developing agendas to climate concerns.
CO2 emissions trap heat in the atmosphere causing hotter temperatures and rising sea levels. High concentration brings a massive disruption into ecosystems and more extreme weather, with warmer and colder temperatures.
Human activities are responsible for most of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years. As a result, the Earth is changing faster than at any point in our history.
It is essential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to stop global warming. However, humanity is on the opposite trend: the world is still on the way to a catastrophic increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees, which will have devastating consequences on the planet.
According to the UNEP Emissions Gap Report for 2020, emissions continue to increase in countries with high energy consumption, despite improving their energy efficiency and increasing low-carbon energy source. The report recognizes that, even though CO2 emission levels may have decreased by around 7% in 2020 compared to 2019 due to COVID-19, atmospheric concentrations of the leading greenhouse gases continue to increase.
In this scenario, decarbonization has taken a prominent role globally, with companies worldwide and across many sectors elevating commitments to reduce their footprint. A decrease in carbon dioxide is regarded as a critical path towards a better managing of emissions and, in turn, of the global warming.
In response to this concern, the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced the medium-term requirements of the sector's new Net Zero emissions, which indicates that companies will need to define their strategies supported by investment commitments. The financial sector will have to facilitate the development of clean technologies, help in the transition of fossil fuel and energy-intensive and bring low-cost capital to developing countries. It also states that emissions from the energy sector must be reduced by 60% between 2019 and 2030 and the proportion of renewable energies must increase from 27% in 2019 to 60% in 2030.
In this context, the Energy Transition Business Unit was created on October 1, 2020 in Tecpetrol, with the objective to generate business projects and synergy between all the industrial companies of the Techint Group, to work towards a more sustainable future.
The first stage will focus on identifying opportunities and execution of projects using hydrogen for decarbonization, in which there are synergies with the Techint Group's iron and steel activity. As a second step, it will also focus on identifying opportunities in lithium and batteries.
Engaged in decreasing the carbon footprint, Tenaris released its medium-term commitment based on a 30% reduction of its carbon emissions intensity by 2030 versus its 2018 performance.
"A 30% reduction on intensity is an ambitious target and in line with what peers are proposing for the midterm. It is a start and an essential step. We are better positioned than our competitors as we are based on the EAF process, so the footprint of our products today ranks below the world steel average," said Carolina Bengochea, Tenaris's Global Environmental Director.
The Company is committed to developing a long-term sustainable business by minimizing the environmental impact of its operations and making the most efficient use of natural resources and energy.
Tenaris's steel production already uses lower-emitting routes, but it also evaluates the implementation of a Techint Group company technology, Tenova's Consteel system, which optimizes energy and raw material.
To achieve the objective, Tenaris is carrying out initiatives such as TenarisDalmine Zero Emissions, which consists of the first industrial-scale application of hydrogen in Italy to decarbonize the steel sector. The project looks to generate hydrogen and oxygen through an approximate 20 MW electrolyzer installed at the TenarisDalmine mill and adapt the steelmaking process to use green hydrogen instead of natural gas.
Recently, Equinor has awarded Tenaris the supply of tubulars for the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage facilities in Norway. From its TenarisDalmine mill, Tenaris will produce 105km 12" Carbon Manganese (C-Mn) seamless line pipe for this milestone project, helping our customer to reduce their emissions. Within this framework agreement, the two companies will continue to collaborate on projects that promote shared values of responsible development of energy resources.
Tenaris also achieved another milestone towards decarbonization, developing a partnership with Nel Hydrogen, a global company dedicated to produce hydrogen technologies. The so-called "Shore to Store" project will scale up in phases. Two new large capacity heavy-duty hydrogen fuel stations – one near the Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington, U.S.A., and another in the warehouse center of Ontario, Canada, – are in the commissioning phase to complete the heavy-duty hydrogen fueling network in the region.
Ternium is also taking actions to start a decarbonization process to reduce its carbon footprint. To achieve this goal, the Company announced a 2030 plan to lower its CO2 intensity by 20% through a USD 214M investment in its mills in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
The project involves:
The Company is also sharpening in scope 1, related to direct emissions linked to a company's operations, and scope 2, about indirect emissions from purchased energy. These areas represent 95% of its carbon dioxide emissions.
Ternium will also advance carbon mitigation measures through even greater use of renewables, an increase in the product mix of DRI/scrap-EAF, re-configurations to DRI/EAF, development of low carbon technologies, increase in carbon capture usage and storage as well as the study and development of green hydrogen as a reducing agent.
"To better manage these issues, we recently launched a reorganization of Ternium's Environmental area with two different structures. One that will address the long-term strategic environmental decisions, and the other that will monitor day-to-day environmental problems," said Máximo Vedoya, Ternium CEO.
In this quest to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, renewable energies appear to be the right solution for generating electric power. They are clean, inexhaustible and an increasingly competitive source of power. They differ from fossil fuels mainly in their diversity, abundance and potential, but above all, they do not produce polluting emissions.
According to this scenario, hydrogen will probably have a crucial role in a greener future. While the reduction of iron oxides with fossil sources always has CO2 as a by-product, hydrogen only produces water. This is why the use of it in the generation of DRI appears to play a fundamental part.
Techint Engineering & Construction evaluates different CO2 capture technologies and solutions to transition from natural gas to hydrogen in industrial plants. In terms of analysis of electrolyzers suppliers, the Company is researching a wide array of suppliers, developing, for example, a partnership with Haldor Topsoe, an expert on ammonia plants.
On the other hand, Tenova, the innovative solutions in metals and mining company, leads the way towards more sustainable steel manufacturing worldwide. The Company has CO2 absorptions units that can capture approximately 250 kg for each ton of DRI out of the 400 kilograms of CO2 produced during the process.
Paolo Argenta, Tenova's executive vice president, remarked on the Company's contributions worldwide, highlighting the HYBRIT fossil-free steelmaking project in Sweden: "We started looking at hydrogen application for steelmaking a while ago. The first real achievement for us was when we supplied equipment for their hydrogen-based DRI plant in Lulea. We also signed a contract to supply Salzgitter, Germany, with a demo plant for them as well."
In fact, Tenova HYL, its DRI competence center, has years of experience in implementing hydrogen as a reducing agent. Stefano Maggiolino, president & CEO, considers that Salzgitter's new demo plant is "more like a training center than a pilot because the technology is ready for the industry's development."
In November 2020, Tenova signed a contract with the HBIS Group in China to execute the Paradigm Project. The initiative consists of developing a 600,000 tpy ENERGIRON DRI plant that foresees the use of hydrogen as a reducing agent. The mill will use make-up gas with a hydrogen concentration of 70% with total emissions of only 125 kg of CO2 per ton of steel.
The path to decarbonization is a long process that involves stages, deadlines, and the strong commitment that characterizes all the Techint Group companies. The relationship with the communities and the protection of the environment are their main priorities to continue developing a sustainable growth.