The EU continues to invest in several EAF steelmaking projects planned or underway in Europe, often with government subsidies. They also receive funding from the European Union, which increases the expectations of growing demand for scrap under these circumstances.
Most often, these projects are based on plans to decarbonize production. The investment is being combined with other projects involving the basic oxygen conversion furnaces use but with the replacement of coal with other raw materials or hydrogen.
Companies that have announced or launched European projects in the past 18 months include ArcelorMittal, Britain’s Liberty Steel Group, Austria’s Voestalpine, as well as Germany’s Saarstal, Plaster Green Steel and H2 Green Steel.
British Steel has put raised the idea of converting the transformer production to an electric furnace, but the public funding for this plan implementation has not been arranged yet.
These investments have resulted in a steady sales and installation stream over the past two years of equipment from steel technology providers such as Danieli, SMS Group and Primetals Technologies.
ArcelorMittal, Europe’s largest steel producer, is making ongoing investments to convert its blast furnaces and oxygen conversion furnaces large proportion into electric furnaces or coal-free converters. The company’s efforts have extended beyond Europe to include the Canadian Steel Complex project.
Ferrous metal scrap demand is expected to grow. In addition, DRI and hydrogen, in particular, will play a significant role, and representatives of the Federal Federation of German Steel Recyclers and Recyclers (BDSV) have been lobbying for scrap as a substantial raw material for global trade and energy security.
The producer-holding company EAF Swiss Steel is promoting the same idea.
EAF technology is closely linked to scrap metal, and this likely means that even steel producers that invest in DRI production will become part of the larger scrap market in Europe and beyond.
The EU can transform from an exporter to an importer of steel scrap as steel manufacturers worldwide have switched to electric arc furnaces (EAFs), and competition for this raw material will only increase in the coming years. The European Union exports about 18 million tons of scrap annually.