Saturday, June 25, 2022

Kulaste urges steel industry to consider use of Hydrogen, natural gas

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  • Using energy-efficient methods to produce steel will not only reduce production costs but also improve competitiveness, said Kulaste
  • Solutions like renewable energy, solar power and zero-liquid discharge, zero-waste approach would become the norm in the future, he added

New Delhi: Asserting that the National Steel Policy 2017 envisages a globally competitive Indian steel industry in compliance with the world best practices on environment and sustainability, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State (MoS) for Steel urged the steel industry to consider usage of cleaner fuel like natural gas and Hydrogen. This growth brings challenges of environment sustainability and therefore, solutions and initiatives towards decarbonisation and environment management would be the key drivers for the industry going forward.

Addressing a webinar on Future of Indian Mining, Metals and Cement Industries- Decarbonisation, Environment Management and Sustainable Solutions organised by FICCI, Kulaste said, “Using energy-efficient methods to produce steel will not only reduce production costs but also improve competitiveness. This can be achieved through highly developed energy management systems and usage of the latest technologies in production process, to reduce our carbon footprint. Solutions like renewable energy, solar power and zero-liquid discharge, zero-waste approach would become the norm in the future,” he said.

With an objective to enhance energy efficiency in the steel industry, the government is aggressively funding projects focussed upon energy saving technologies and carbon reduction, the minister said.

Steel industry should explore use of gas, Hydrogen: Kulaste

Kulaste noted that the Indian industry has been adopting technologies to reduce associated CO2 emissions via Carbon Capture and Storage and Carbon Capture and Utilisation. “It is time that industry look forward towards solutions available to improve upon its carbon footprint and take big strides towards the decarbonisation initiative. We can also look at national and international collaborations and technology transfers. The new emerging areas like use of natural gas, use of hydrogen, etc, also need to be explored so that Indian industries remain in pace with their global counterparts,” Kulaste added.

‘Bring in newer technologies that are carbon-free’

Speaking at the event, Satendra Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines, said that the country is one of the largest consumer markets in the world with the capacity to consume large amounts of consumables that are likely to have components that are coming from mining or metal sector. “Most of the modern-day technology that is used in mining is either foreign or owned by foreign companies. Since the focus has now shifted to decarbonisation and sustainability, the older methods and technologies may not be suitable. Newer technologies that are carbon-free and environmentally sustainable present before us a good opportunity,” he said.

SK Roongta, Mentor, FICCI Non-Ferrous Metals Committee and Non-Executive Chairman, BALCO, noted that the Indian mining industry lies at the core of the nation’s economic development. “However, the sector is highly energy intensive because of large scale processing of raw materials involved at every stage of operation. The large level of energy requirement and emission of green-house gases like carbon dioxide, carbon mono oxide and oxides of sulphur, among others, are a major cause of environment pollution from the mining activities,” he said.

Alok Mehta, Director- Commercial, NMDC Ltd, said that there is no denying that modernised businesses regard sustainable practices as a fundamental component of planning and development, and that they are incorporating these practices into their decision making. “For mining operations to effectively operate in the current environment, they need to take heed of social, environmental, and economic sustainability in mining,” he said.

‘Industry must focus on reducing carbon footprints’

VR Sharma, Co-Chair, FICCI Steel Committee and Managing Director, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, said that the world is working towards Green Energy and Green Fuel. “While India has witnessed many developments in this past decade, developments are yet to take place on a commercial level. Complete decarbonization will take a while, but we need to work on reducing our carbon footprints. Hybrid thinking is the need of the hour,” he said.

Harmit Singh Sethi, Co-Chair, FICCI Cement Committee and Executive Director and Group Head, Corporate Affairs and Incubation, Dalmia Bharat Group said that one-thirds of all CO2 emissions are man-made, and that industry must realise that clean and green is profitable and sustainable. Citing Dalmia Bharat Group’s efforts towards reducing their carbon footprints, Mr Sethi informed that the company aims to be carbon-free by 2030.

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