In conversation with Mr. Prabodha Acharya, towards attaining 'Sustainability'.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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In conversation with Mr. Prabodha Acharya, towards attaining 'Sustainability'.

1. How challenging is the steel industry’s transition to greener steel considering its carbon footprint? Do you view technology as a crucial factor in accelerating the sustainability movement?

Decarbonizing steel production, which contributes 0.7% to the global GDP while generating about 7% of global CO2 emissions, is a vital step towards achieving a net-zero world.

The IEA announced the Iron and Steel Technology Roadmap in 2020 that details out emission reduction pathways for the Global as well as the Indian Iron & Steel sector. The Roadmap sets out “Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS)” – an ambitious pathway to net-zero emissions for the energy system by 2070.

This process is not instantaneous and requires managed transition between phases. In due course, with the deployment and optimization of appropriate technologies, it is expected that low-carbon steel-making technologies will become competitive w.r.t. conventional iron and steel-making technologies.

However, industry will need government support through a well-designed policy to help moderate the initial capital costs, as well as the higher opex costs in the transition period that could otherwise render them uncompetitive.

In order to further push the envelope and fully realize the potential for decarbonisation, examining the role of market forces in shaping the path to green steel will be key.

Given the current state of the Indian steel industry and the best available technologies, decarbonisation can be achieved through significant investments in process interventions that have the potential to optimize power & energy consumption, recycling and emerging technologies like CCUS & Hydrogen technologies.

JSW has aligned its sustainability target for GHG emissions with the projections based on IEA’s sustainable development scenario which are also aligned with India’s Nationally Determined Contributions. Some of the steps taken for the same include – energy transition from thermal coal to RE in steel making, reduction of solid fuel rate in BF, use of PCI, usage of Natural Gas in BF, increased usage of scrap in steel making, and implementation of Best Available Technologies. In June 2021, JSW became a key member in the India Hydrogen Alliance (IH2A), and was entrusted with the responsibility of bringing industry majors and the government on a shared platform for hydrogen commercialization in the steel and cement industry. JSW also operates a Carbon Capture and Utilisation plant of 100 TPD which gives it an edge to be a front runner and also scale up the technology once matured and feasible in near future.

To conclude – a vibrant steel industry has historically been the foundation of a nation’s rapid Industrial Development. Most of the decarbonizing technologies for the steel industry are expected to mature beyond 2030. Both hydrogen and CCUS technologies present promising options and Green Hydrogen based DRI continues to gain momentum. However, in the short term, it is the need of the hour to maximize operational process and resource efficiency which is also guided by IEA.

2. What is JSW Steel’s action plan for sustainability?

As India’s leading steel producer, JSW, has always been the front runner in incorporating sustainability in its core operations along with adopting the Best Available Technologies (BAT) to reduce its carbon footprint.

We have a strong Sustainability Vision based on which we have drafted our strategy and Sustainability framework consisting of Policies, Management & Technical Standards and Guidance Notes which directs us to make our businesses sustainable in the long run. We have identified 17 focus areas based on our analysis of national, international and sector specific material issues and have set targets for the most material topics for 2030.

Prabodha Acharya, Chief Sustainability Officer: JSW Group

JSW Steel has been rated as A- (Leadership band) by CDP and adjudged Sustainability Champion by worldsteel for four consecutive years. We remain focused in implementing best available technologies (BAT) and practices, some of which includes –

  • Coke Dry Quenching (CDQ)
  • Power generation from waste heat
  • Top Pressure Recovery Turbine (TRT)
  • Waste Heat Recovery systems
  • Operationalized one of the largest pipe conveyor systems to transport iron ore directly from mines
  • Supporting energy transition through RE
  • Circular Economy – slag produced is being used for cement and sand making

We have committed to reduce our CO2 emission by 2030 (from 2005 base year) aligned with IEA SDS pathway and India @NDC for net zero, and have earmarked ₹10,000 crore for investments to achieve our targets. Our ongoing expansions are oriented towards producing steel with higher use of renewable power, digitalization to achieve operational efficiency and best available technologies to cut associated CO2 emissions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members