Despite emissions goals, China’s steel sector continues to chug along

China’s efforts to curb carbon emissions from the steel manufacturing process have slowed down its steel production.
But only to a degree.
However, a new report now shows that almost all the major steel mills in its steelmaking hub, Tangshan in Hebei province are back online.
A report by industry portal, citing its field survey, said the furnaces were firing again — albeit at 70% — according to this news report.
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Tangshan steel mills come back online

Tangshan steel plant
junrong/Adobe Stock

In fact, Tangshan’s mills contribute about 14% of China’s raw steel output. Furnaces are running at a lower rate because of China’s stringent new emission standards. Only those mills meeting these conditions are going full blast, according to the news report.
China remains the world’s No. 1 steel producer with over 1 billion tons of crude steel production. However, Beijing has been trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions to meet the country’s pledge to bring its emissions to a peak before 2030.
In the first five months of this year, the country’s crude steel output reached 473.1 million tons, the World Steel Association reported. The five-month output total marked an increase of 13.9% year over year.

A tricky balance

So why did the authorities allow the steel mills in Tangshan to restart?
The Chinese government is trying to balance demand for steel and the impact of steel production on the environment. At the 50% limit the government had earlier imposed on steel companies not meeting the environmental regulations, a portion of the domestic demand for steel was going unmet.

Baowu overtakes ArcelorMittal in steel volume

In a parallel development, reported that China’s Baowu Steel Group had bypassed the world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, by volume in 2020, becoming the first Chinese steel company to do so.
Baowu’s crude steel production went up 21% to 115.29 MT in 2020. The Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal’s output fell 19%. As such, the firm conceded the top spot for the first time since 2001.
Of the global top 10 producers, seven are now based in China.
Also, a few weeks ago, Baowu Steel Group had announced a partnership with Honeywell International Inc’s UOP to produce hydrogen energy in an effort to help reduce carbon emissions in the steel sector, Reuters reported.
In statement published by Honeywell, it had said its subsidiary Honeywell UOP would provide high-purity hydrogen stations with hourly production of 6,000 standard cubic meters to a unit of Baowu. Baowu would utilize the station for non-oriented silicon steel production and its vehicle hydrogen stations, per the report.
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