Nippon Steel to focus on recycling

Nippon Steel is shifting focus to recycling steel to hit ambitious net-zero emission targets.

The race to develop cleaner steel is intensifying and the Japanese company is taking steps towards decarbonisation.

Executive vice-president Katsuhiro Miyamoto unveiled the plans in an interview and will start in April.

Nippon Steel is working on research to build much larger electric-arc furnaces, which are used to make steel from scrap, to mass produce the metal.

Japan, the US, the UK, the EU, South Korea and other of smaller countries have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050.

China will seek to cut emissions to net zero by 2060.

This has led to pressure on steelmakers to respond to these targets set by governments.

“Since the government presented the policy, we will incorporate measures for zero carbon in the business plan,” Mr Miyamoto in the interview. “First, we must allocate our resources to research and development.”

Nippon has been making steel from mined iron and coal in more polluting blast furnaces for more than a century. 

While electric furnaces release only a fraction of carbon dioxide compared with blast furnaces, it’s still a challenge to make high-quality steel because scrap contains impurities.

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