Ferrous Scrap Still Vital to Europe’s Carbon Reduction Efforts

The use of ferrous scrap has remained a hot topic in the push to make the European steel industry more circular, with the region’s abundant raw material resources being a key advantage. 

 The EU is the world’s greatest exporter of ferrous scrap, with 17.4 million mt exported in 2020, as well as 1.6 million mt of copper, aluminum, and nickel scrap and 100,000 mt of precious metals scrap. 

In 2018 and 2019, 74.44 percent of EU ferrous scrap traveled to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries (OECD) and 25.56 percent to non-OECD countries on average, with Turkey being the largest single destination. 

There is a misperception about ferrous scrap being a “dirty” or “gray” feedstock, which is incorrect because it benefits the environment when compared to using virgin raw materials to make steel. 

Recycling steel benefits the EU economy not only in terms of GDP output but also in terms of reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and achieving a more circular economy. 

This is also in accordance with the European Steel Association’s Low Carbon Roadmap, which aims to make the steel industry CO2-neutral by 2050. 

 Carbon emissions should be decreased by 80-95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. However, because of the adoption of new technology and energy utilization, this effort could result in a 35 percent to 100 percent increase in production cost for every mt of steel by then. 

In comparison to the high expenses that would be paid for radical structural changes, boosting the adoption of recycled steel in the BOF process would give a rapid solution to reduce steelmaking’s CO2 emissions. Though, the existing scarcity of high-quality scrap will operate as a limiting factor in its greater reliance as a solution. 

PC: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scrap_metal_2.jpg