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We can make the steel of tomorrow without the fossil fuels of yesteryear
Oct 21, 2021 | Engadget
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The modern world has grown around steel bones — everything from tools and home appliances to skyscrapers and airplanes use the versatile material in their construction. But the process of making steel is a significant contributor to global warming and climate change. In 2018, reportedly every ton of steel produced generated 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide, accounting for about 7 percent of global CO2 emissions that year. This poses not just environmental challenges for our ever increasing world, it could also impact steel producers’ bottom line, which is why the industry is developing a “fossil-free” means of making the alloy, one that relies on renewable-sourced hydrogen rather than carbon coke.

Steel is an alloy composed of iron, which in its pure form is relatively soft, with a small amount of introduced carbon, usually about 2 percent of its total weight. This improves the material’s strength and reduces its propensity for fracturing. The process starts by combining iron ore, before coking coal and limestone (which remove impurities) in a blast furnace to create pig iron.

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