First, I would like to thank the participants of the Iron and Steel Summit 2022, Bahrain. This event was held at the same time as COP 27 in Sharm–El Sheikh, Egypt, and several communications on the Green Steel theme were held and discussed. It is a clear aspiration of the iron and steel family to move towards a clean steel industry by 2030.
I think it is time for Arab steel companies to start thinking about our contribution to achieving this goal. The objectives announced at COP 27 are promising, and all sectors of activity must contribute to them. There is a strong political commitment, and the leading Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have made firm commitments to 2030.
The volume of carbon dioxide emissions from the iron and steel industry is estimated at 7% of the total carbon emissions globally. Therefore, carbon removal from this industry plays a fundamental role in achieving climategoals. However, the steel industry faces tremendous carbon removal challenges, as it is historically dependent on fossil fuels, especially coal, which accounts for 70% of total steel production.
The European Union is one of the pioneers in this field as it has initiated societal policies through 60 low-carbon projects implementation by 2030, estimated at 85 billion euros, of which 31 billion euros are investments and 54 billion euros are operating expenses.
As for the Arab steel industry, short-term goals and long-term goals that require strategic decisions must be initiated towards an economically feasible and climate-neutral transformation that demands the work of an integrated system for this vital industry for any economy from the source to the end user, and the concerted efforts of companies, investors and political decision-makers to find effective solutions. To reduce carbon emissions from this industry, without forgetting the financing part, which plays a crucial role in implementing this policy.
It remains to be seen whether Arab countries will be able to mobilize around achieving medium or long-term goals.
In this context, a technical committee project is being established within the Arab Iron and Steel Union in parallel with the economic committee that was formed five years ago, and one of the tasks of the technical committee is to provide information and recommendations for valuable solutions for the green steel industry to achieve the climate and energy goals for the year 2030 and implement the long-term strategy for the year 2050.
It will be necessary to conduct an industrial audit of several pilot sites as a first step to shed light on the ability of Arab steel mills to transition to green steel production or not, by defining means and timetables with the help of partners and specialized organizations in this field.
Dr Kamel Djoudi