Coal is the first supply of power for the Indian steel industry. Whereas pure gasoline is employed internationally to supply metal, India is the one steel-making nation that makes use of coal due to its financial viability and ample iron ores within the states of Chhattisgarh and Orissa. Nonetheless, metal produced utilizing coal provides to carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions.
In 2018 alone, roughly 220 Mt of CO 2 was emitted by the metal business. Emissions from the metal business contributes to eight% of India’s complete emissions and is taken into account exhausting to abate sector. With the Authorities of India pledging to abate 33% of CO 2 emissions by 2030, the metal business wants to seek out viable options quickly to mitigate emissions.
Options to coal
Iron-ore used for making metal includes iron and oxygen. The method includes utilizing coal to separate oxygen from iron. Carbon within the coal combines with oxygen to kind carbon dioxide, resulting in emissions. A number of universities and firms throughout the globe have been looking for options to both cut back or get rid of the consumption of coal in steel-making. Most short-term business initiatives are presently substituting 20–30% of coal with hydrogen, thereby managing to tug again CO 2 emissions by 20–30%. The completely different applied sciences being piloted now embody electrowinning strategies resembling Boston Steel and SIDERWIN with 99% emission discount potential and hydrogen strategies resembling HYBRIT, Flash, Thyssenkrupp, and H2 Hamburg with 95% emission discount potential.
Electrowinning is a breakthrough know-how as it’s a single-stage course of not like the present course of which includes a number of phases. Nonetheless, will probably be some time earlier than electrowinning is commercially obtainable. In the meantime, HYBRIT, a hydrogen-based know-how, is essentially the most promising in the meanwhile; it’s presently within the analysis stage and is predicted to enter business manufacturing in 2026.
Hydrogen-based DRI vegetation vs rotary kiln DRI vegetation
The Ministry of Metal stories that about 45% of metal is produced utilizing blast furnaces and 35% utilizing direct-reduced iron (DRI) utilizing coal (20% metal comes from recycling). India has, in reality, been the world’s largest DRI producer since 2003.
Because of the minimal capital value rotary kiln is essentially the most broadly used know-how for producing metal below the DRI methodology. It requires a capital funding of INR 17 lakh for each tonne per day (TPD) capability plant and roughly INR 18,000 to acquire iron ore and coal for each tonne of metal produced. Nearly 40–45% of the operational bills on this case are spent on procuring coal. The hydrogen-based DRI (H 2 DRI) vegetation, however, require excessive capital funding as water electrolysers are costly. Additionally they incur excessive operational prices because of substantial electrical energy consumption.
H2DRI vegetation may be viable if they’re built-in with a captive photo voltaic PV plant and a waste-heat-recovery system (WHRS) energy generator. This can cut back the operational prices considerably as the price of electrical energy turns into negligible due to the captive photo voltaic PV plant.
For a 200 TPD capability plant, the preliminary capital value for a rotary kiln plant could be INR 34 crore, whereas an H 2 DRI plant, with captive photo voltaic PV, would require INR 713 crore. However even with the massive capital value, low operational prices would make the H 2 DRI plant break even with the rotary kiln plant in 10 years.
The street forward
Ample in nature, hydrogen is present in water (H 2 O), hydrocarbons (resembling methane, CH4), and different natural matter. Thus, the transition to hydrogen would cut back India’s geopolitical dependencies by decreasing its reliance on imports of coal, pure gasoline, and petroleum merchandise as power sources. The swap would even be useful in the long term as it may play a big function in different sectors resembling transport, course of business, agriculture, and long-term power storage—making it simpler to realize economies of scale.
Regardless of these advantages, the barrier to an H2DRI plant is the excessive upfront capital value. As metal is traded on a worldwide platform, these capital prices are troublesome for the business to soak up. If India needs to retain the sting as one of many main metal producers globally, the Authorities ought to present incentives by way of insurance policies for adoption of hydrogen. As a part of Coverage for Metal Clusters (Draft), electrolysers with captive PV vegetation may be included below frequent amenities and manufacturing of hydrogen may be incentivised below the PLI scheme for a interval of 10 years. This can appeal to the eye of unbiased hydrogen producers and cut back the capital burden on every metal plant, whereas pushing India in the direction of emission-free steel-making.
[This piece was authored by Viswanath Dibbur, a Consultant in the Computational Tools team at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), a research-based think tank]
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