GFG Alliance, one of Britain’s largest industrial groups, is planning to create five million tonnes of low-carbon steelmaking capacity over the next five years as part of a drive to develop ‘a green and competitive future for manufacturing in the UK’. This equates to half of all the steel made in Britain at present.

The company said the plan would play an important role in delivering the vision for ‘clean growth’ outlined in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper released last week.

Jay Hambro, chief investment officer of the GFG Alliance – which includes Liberty House and SIMEC Energy – said that the Government’s White Paper acknowledged clearly that green energy and industrial competitiveness go hand-in-hand. “We welcome the document’s emphasis on clean growth. That link between energy and industry has been at the heart of our own GREENSTEEL strategy and we are greatly encouraged to see public policy going strongly in this direction,” he said, adding that GREENSTEEL, made using renewable energy, has only one tenth of the carbon footprint of blast furnace production and should form a key part of the clean growth focus.”

The GFG Alliance employs 5,500 workers at its Liberty House UK steel and engineering plants. The company aims to recycle at home a large proportion of the 7.2Mt/yr of scrap steel currently exported annually from the UK. This low-carbon secondary steel production would displace much of the 6.6Mt/yr tonnes of raw steel currently imported into Britain.

Currently, the UK exports more of its scrap for processing abroad than any other developed economy. According to GFG, however, this abundant raw material – 10Mt/yr and rising to 20Mt within a decade – provides the country with a huge opportunity to drive clean growth by making low-carbon steel at home.

Liberty is a leading producer of recycled steel, with a melting capacity of 1.1Mt/yr in the UK and 1.2Mt/yr in Australia.

According to Hambro, driverless and electric cars are a great innovation. He said that the quest for cleaner engines is also a step in the right direction. “However, it is worth remembering that all cars will need steel, aluminium and composite materials whichever the engine or driver, so the focus of clean growth must capture this. As… one of the largest steel and engineering groups, we are heavily involved in the new developments which will achieve these goals. We are on a constant drive to create clean growth and are delighted to see this highlighted today by Government,” said Hambro.

“We share the Government’s vision for a rejuvenated manufacturing base that is sustainable both economically and environmentally. In the years ahead, UK industry will be both green and competitive to support increases in productivity.” he said.