Lower Carbon Technology Approaches for Steel Manufacturing in China

Lihua Ren, Li Wang, Di Lu, xiaolu chen, zhigang Jia, Xi Liang, Qianguo Lin, Hasan Muslemani, Mengfei Jiang, Francisco Ascui, Kaili Liang

Research output: Working paper


• The steel sector is one of the largest industrial sources of CO2 emissions, contributing around 28% of global industry sector’s direct greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2012, China has accounted for approximately half of global steel production, rendering it critical to explore ways to decarbonise the Chinese steel sector. However, there was a lack of knowledge exchange on low-carbon options in the iron and steel sector.
• This study investigates lower carbon technology options to reduce carbon emissions in steel plants in China based on literature review and industry consultation. The research objective of the report is to identify key low-carbon technical trajectories in the steel sector in China (excluding carbon capture and storage and fuel switching options) and illustrate a generic abatement cost curve for the crude steel manufacturing process.
• The average carbon dioxide emissions from steel production in China are approximately 2.1 tonnes CO2 per tonne crude steel (tcs) in 2010 (Hasanbeigi et al., 2015). Through an analysis of marginal abatement costs, it is found that the cumulative CO2 emission reduction potential is 898 kgCO2/tcs, if all the 25 abatement options in the recommended energy-saving and carbon reduction technology package were adopted, accounting for about 43% of the average CO2 emissions per tonne of crude steel produced in China.
• The cumulative carbon abatement capacity of the nine most cost-effective technologies is 426 kgCO2/tcs, accounting for about 20% of the average CO2 emissions per tonne of crude steel produced in China.
• Over half of the selected technologies promoted by the 12th Five Year Plan were found to be cost-ineffective but are likely to become cost-effective technologies in the future when considering the bias of this model and the projected increase in energy and carbon prices, as well as future policy interventions in the Chinese iron/steel industry.
• Further studies and industry knowledge exchange are required to update the data and to monitor application of new technologies. A deep cut of emissions in the iron and steel sector would require carbon capture and storage or a significant modification of the manufacturing process, such as a hydrogen-based steel production process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • mitigation cost
  • steel
  • China
  • low carbon technology


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