If Steel Times International was a different sort of magazine – one sold in newsagents and with broader public appeal – the front cover of this month’s print edition might have been totally different. It might have been green. It might have sported a photograph of rolling hills or wind turbines – anything that brings to mind ‘the environment’.
The reason is simple: This month we concentrate on sustainability, climate policy and saving the planet in what could be called our ‘green issue’.
While it would be easy to dismiss the steel industry as ‘not very green’, the opposite is closer the truth. Yes, steel production is a heavy industrial process, but let’s not forget that steel is 100% recyclable and that 75% of all the steel products ever made are still in use today and that buildings and other structures made from steel can last for more than 100 years if properly maintained.
We kick off with an article based on the latest publication from worldsteel, Steel in the Circular Economy – a life cycle perspective. The key message is that ‘people’ are often obsessed with the use-phase of products made from steel when a broader life cycle assessment should be considered to establish steel’s true ‘green credentials’.
The argument put forward by worldsteel is that the ‘circular economy’ reflects the true value of steel to society in terms of its environmental impact on the planet and that ‘life cycle thinking’ is the only way to assess steel’s true sustainability.
Carlo Pettinelli, director of Sustainable Growth and EU2020 at the European Commission (EC) outlines how the EC is ready to play its part in helping the steel sector remain competitive despite the challenges of overcapacity, high energy costs, volatile raw materials prices and a regulatory burden ‘that implies certain costs’.
In an article entitled EU climate policy under scrutiny, Gareth Stace, head of climate & environment at the Engineering Employers Federation, argues that the EU’s climate and energy policy framework is no simpler or more predictable for steelmakers than it was when the European steel sector first grappled with it a decade ago.
Finnish stainless steel producer Outokumpu argues that stainless steel is a ‘dream material’ for sustainable living while Fives Stein, a steel production technology provider, discusses its eco-design philosophy in relation to reducing GHG emissions from the furnace.
We move on to electric steelmaking with an article on the principles behind Organic Rankine Cycle-based waste heat recovery systems from Italian technology provider Turboden.
Looking after the environment is one thing, but looking after people is something else. In an exclusive interview, worldsteel’s director of safety, technology and environment, Henk Reimink, argues that good leadership determines plant safety while Myra Pinkham says that most steelmakers in the USA have some kind of safety programme in place but that the key is to avoid complacency.
All the above, plus our regular features – news, country updates, Q&A and the much-loved History page – can be found in the April 2015 edition of Steel Times International.