The Federal Government is funding a study of low emissions steel production at Port Kembla in New South Wales. 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced close to $1 million in funding for BlueScope Steel to investigate options to decarbonise operations at the Port Kembla Steelworks (PKSW). 

The study will consider the technical and economic viability of several decarbonisation options for the plant. This initial project will explore two main pathways to lowering emissions at Port Kembla: Smart Carbon Usage and Direct Carbon Avoidance. The project is expected to be completed in 13 months.

Smart Carbon Usage refers to opportunities to substitute coal with renewable carbon sources in the steel production process. The project includes a series of plant trials where BlueScope will investigate the potential to partially replace coal that is injected into the blast furnace with renewable biochar.

Direct Carbon Avoidance refers to longer term opportunities to decarbonise steelmaking, including through the utilisation of renewable hydrogen, in combination with a Direct Reduced Iron process.

The project is intended to provide insights into potential pathways to decarbonise steel production at PKSW. BlueScope’s insights will be captured in a series of publicly released findings to maximise the benefit for a wider set of stakeholders.

BlueScope has engaged the University of Wollongong and the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre to assist in delivering the Project. These project partners will provide expertise in steelmaking technologies, process, modelling and pneumatic conveying of raw materials.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller says reducing emissions from steel-making is a priority for Australia.

“To meet our net zero targets, Australia needs to reduce emissions from the iron ore mining sector and steel industry,” he said.

“More than seven per cent of the world’s emissions come from steelmaking and these emissions have proven difficult to abate. We’re pleased to be partnering with an Australian company motivated to solve this decarbonisation challenge.”