British Steel held a consultation event in Redcar, Northern England, to explain to local citizens how its £1.25 billion plans to build two electric arc furnaces in Scunthorpe and Redcar will help the company become ‘cleaner, greener and more sustainable.’

According to a report by ITV News, the plans involve replacing high-emissions blast furnaces with electric arc furnaces, which use renewably generated electricity to melt the raw steel.

Chris McDonald, former CEO of Materials Processing Institute (MPI), a research institute aimed at developing technologies for industrial processes, told ITV News the announcement is welcome, but he has some concerns over energy costs and primary steel making.

"The thing that we’re missing is primary steelmaking, steel made from iron ore and that’s a gap in proposals, that’s something I’d like to see, so I think that the announcement that’s been made is a really good announcement.''

Chris McDonald, former CEO, Materials Processing Institute

McDonald said: "The thing that we’re missing is primary steelmaking, steel made from iron ore and that’s a gap in proposals, that’s something I’d like to see, so I think that the announcement that’s been made is a really good announcement. It’s what’s necessary for steelmaking, but it’s not sufficient. We need to take that extra step.

"This project here for British Steel on Teesside can still go ahead, but what I worry about is when we want to grow steel making in the future, or we’re thinking about national security, or some very sophisticated high grades of steel, without primary steelmaking, we might have a problem. We can’t have security of supply for steel, unless we have primary steel making."

With the steel making industry currently accounting for nearly 10% of the UK's carbon emissions, experts claim Teesside, which Redcar is located within, is in a prime position to lead the way in making steel production more environmentally friendly.

"With offshore wind, with nuclear at Hartlepool, we are one of the regions that has the greenest electricity in the UK, so combining that with making steel, I think is a good news story environmentally for the region."

Alan Scholes, the chief technology officer, Materials Processing Institute

Alan Scholes, the chief technology officer at MPI, told ITV News: "With offshore wind, with nuclear at Hartlepool, we are one of the regions that has the greenest electricity in the UK, so combining that with making steel, I think is a good news story environmentally for the region."

Source: ITV News