Tata Steel Nederland: clean, green and circular

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In an exclusive interview with Green Steel World, Mr. Jeroen Klumper, Director Sustainable Transition at Tata Steel Nederland, offers insights into the company's vision for a sustainable future. From pioneering technologies to customer-focused solutions, Mr. Klumper sheds light on Tata Steel's sustainable transition journey.

GSW: What does green steel mean for Tata Steel Nederland?

JK: Green steel, for us, signifies our commitment to supplying the world with essential steel products in an environmentally conscious manner. Steel is omnipresent in our daily lives, from the chairs we sit on to the buildings we work in. Therefore, it is imperative for us to produce steel in a clean, green, and circular manner. Specifically, green to us means achieving CO2 neutrality. However, we acknowledge that this is a gradual process. Our aim is to reach CO2 neutrality by 2045, taking incremental steps towards this ambitious goal. Additionally, we are dedicated to enhancing our circularity and becoming a benchmark in clean steelmaking, ensuring minimal emissions across the board.

GSW: The choice of technology is pivotal in pursuit of sustainability. Recent announcements have highlighted references to DRP (Direct Reduction Plant), EAF (Electric Arc Furnace), among others. Could you elaborate on the technologies currently in use and those planned for the future?

JK: Currently, our operations are supported by two blast furnaces. We are transitioning towards DRP-EAF technology, driven by its versatility and sustainability features. This technology offers a crucial flexibility between hydrogen and natural gas, providing us with a strategic advantage. While we anticipate an initial mix of these fuels due to hydrogen supply limitations in Europe, our long-term goal remains focused on achieving sustainable steel production.

Our on-site pellet plant plays a significant role in establishing an integrated site here in IJmuiden. EAF technology will also enable Tata Steel Nederland to take another step in terms of circularity, whereby we aim to make advanced steels using 30% scrap. Especially the combination of a DRP and an EAF enables us to ensure scrap returns as advanced steels for demanding applications.

GSW: Could you please provide further details about your recent deal with Tenova and Danieli?

For our future DR plant, we selected the ENERGIRON technology offered by Danieli. For the EAF, we opted for Tenova’s Consteel concept. This means we will have a continuous feed of preheated scrap coming into our electric arc furnace with a heat size of more than 300 tonnes, which is quite large. This scale is essential as it will enable us to seamlessly transition away from blast furnace operations.

The capacity of the DRP and the EAF have been designed to allow for a steady flow of scrap, in addition to iron, into the electric arc furnace. We also invest in secondary metallurgy facilities, ensuring that our EAF-based production route delivers high quality advanced steels.

Mr. Jeroen Klumper, Director Sustainable Transition at Tata Steel Nederland

GSW: With a clear focus on incorporating scrap into your future plans, do you have any concerns about its availability? It seems to be a potential issue.

JK: No, I am not particularly worried about it. In terms of the European scrap market, we anticipate a shift towards more regional sourcing. Currently, some scrap is still exported from Europe, although it is not yet classified as a critical raw material under European legislation. However, this could change in the future. There is a diverse range of scrap available, and I believe there is significant potential for upgrading it.

However, on a global scale, the demand for steel outstrips the availability of scrap. Worldsteel forecasts indicate that, by 2050, only about 50% of the global steel demand can be met through recycled scrap steel. This means we also need to maintain a reliance on iron ore-based steel production. It is about finding a balance; if one company switches entirely to scrap, another will need to compensate by using more iron ore. Our conversations with customers are crucial in this regard. They increasingly value circular propositions and have insights into their own value chains and scrap generation. We must align our processes accordingly to meet their needs.

GSW: Are you considering carbon capture technology?

JK: Yes, it is something we are interested in exploring. Our interest hinges on factors like the cost of hydrogen and its availability. We anticipate a decrease in hydrogen prices as the industry matures and production increases. In the interim, if we operate the DRP on natural gas, we generate a gas stream that can be recycled. During this process, CO2 is separated, resulting in a relatively pure CO2 stream suitable for carbon capture and storage. Exploring carbon capture opportunities in the Netherlands is viable for us, especially given our proximity to empty gas fields in the North Sea, which offers logistical advantages and access to potential CCS sites.

GSW: How are you addressing emissions from electricity?

JK: With the introduction of the electric arc furnace, our electricity consumption will rise. Currently, our net electricity usage is relatively low, but as we shift away from coal and coke, this consumption will increase. Fortunately, our proximity to the North Sea provides access to renewable energy from numerous wind farms. Our vision is to harness this renewable energy to power our operations. A significant advantage is our location near the sea, allowing us to tap into renewable sources efficiently. We have a connection to the national 380 kV electricity grid, connecting to multiple offshore wind parks, ensuring that the electricity powering our electric arc furnace is sourced sustainably. To show the magnitude of this infrastructure, the 380 kV station will transport 8-9 TWh/year, the equivalent of approximately 3.5 million households, of which Tata Steel will utilize up to a quarter at the end of its transformation.[1]

GSW: Could you elaborate further on your green steel brand, Zeremis?

JK: With our transition to DRP-EAF technology, we have established Memorandums of Understanding with our customers. This assures them of our provision of steel with low CO2 content. Recognizing that this transition requires collaboration, we are dedicated to progressing gradually with our customers, ensuring their active involvement in the journey.

Central to this effort is our Zeremis concept, which provides tailored assistance across various elements of our customers’ value chains, prioritizing CO2 emissions reduction with a variety of low-carbon steel solutions along the way to fully carbon-neutral steelmaking in 2045. Among its key features is Zeremis Carbon Lite, already enabling customers to achieve up to an impressive 90% carbon reduction if desired. The CO2 savings under the Carbon Lite scheme are guaranteed through a fully audited system by a third party, instilling confidence in our customers as they position their companies and build their brands.

Tata Steel Nederland´s Zeremis concept provides tailored assistance across various elements of our customers’ value chains, prioritizing CO2 emissions reduction with a variety of lowcarbon steel solutions along the way to fully carbon-neutral steelmaking in 2045.

GSW: It appears you are committed to decarbonising the entire value chain and not just the production process.

JK: Absolutely. When you purchase a product from us, you have the option to specify a lower carbon content. We take a holistic approach, examining the entire supply chain to achieve this goal. For instance, if you are buying packaging material, we assess the supply chain to identify annual CO2 savings. These savings are then allocated to your specific product, enabling you to procure a lower CO2 option.

Furthermore, we extend our focus to other service concepts, such as transportation. We are actively working on solutions to reduce CO2 emissions in this area. For instance, Zeremis Delivered, our declaration-based solution, utilizes HVO 100 instead of conventional diesel to fuel trucks, offering a remarkable 90 percent reduction in CO2e intensity. Additionally, Tata Steel Nederland is pioneering new reduced carbon multi-modal logistics solutions powered by alternative fuels and embodied solutions.

Moreover, our commitment to sustainability extends to our service centers. Our service centers in Naantali (Finland), Halmstad (Sweden), and Gelsenkirchen (Germany) have already achieved carbon neutrality in Scope 1 and 2. This means that from the moment your product leaves our site, through transportation and at our service centers, no additional CO2 is added. You can trust that the product remains CO2 neutral throughout its journey to you.

GSW: The topic of green premiums is gaining traction. Have you received positive feedback from customers regarding this?

JK: Absolutely. Consumers, including myself, are increasingly mindful of product differences and sustainability indicators. There is a rising demand for sustainable goods, including steel. While producing green steel incurs costs, the impact on the final product is assessable for customers. I believe consumers are willing to accept a green steel premium, such as in the price of a car.

The automotive industry in Europe is particularly embracing sustainability as a core differentiator. Europe’s robust framework, including initiatives by the European Commission and sustainability standards, supports this trend. Measures like the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the Emissions Trading System (ETS) drive heightened environmental awareness. This presents a unique opportunity for Europe to lead in sustainability. With our extensive experience in blast furnace operations, we are committed to spearheading the industry’s evolution into the next phase.

[1] Tata Steel will have a smaller intake in Phase 1, and in Phase 2 the company might need additional capacity from another station.

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Lucija Kozina
Lucija Kozina
Lucija started her career as a translator. Having moved to Germany, she found herself in editorial shoes and is now doing her best to navigate her way through various industries in order to bring informative but easy-to-read content to readers.

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