Czech Republic-based Liberty Ostrava, an integrated steel business with an annual production capacity of 3.6Mt, and part of Sanjeev Gupta's sustainable industry leader GFG Alliance, has been given Government approval to implement new low carbon technologies.

According to Liberty Steel, the Ostrava facility will now start its EUR750 million journey towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030, in line with the GFG Alliance's CN30 commitment, following approval by the Czech Republic's Ministry of Environment.

The Ministry has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Ostrava’s investment plan to transformation its steel making operations through the use of two hybrid furnaces, the first of their kind in Europe. The modern hybrid technology will replace the plant's existing tandem furnaces by the end of 2022 and will reduce carbon emissions by more than 50% and particulate emissions by 66%.

Pascal Genest, CEO of LIBERTY Ostrava, said: “The modernisation of the steel shop is at the core of the planned transformation of LIBERTY Ostrava into a GREENSTEEL champion. Obtaining this positive approval of our EIA is another important milestone on our path to carbon neutrality, which we want to achieve in line with the GFG Alliance's CN30 commitment. The overall transformation will provide the Ostrava steelworks with greater flexibility and long-term competitiveness as well as improving its sustainability through minimising our environmental impact.

"A key enabler for this transformation project is the installation of a high voltage power line to support the further electrification of our processes, allowing us to make full use of the hybrid technology potential and produce steel from 100% of scrap when needed. Preparations for the development of the new power line are in full swing and we will work hard to complete it by 2025.”

The two hybrid furnaces will replace the plant's existing four tandem furnaces and will have the same annual production capacity of 3.5Mt of steel. Hybrid steel-making technology will allow Ostrava to use higher volumes of local steel scrap, reducing its reliance on imported natural resources; to produce significantly lower CO2 emissions. It will also enable the plant to respond to changing market situations because it will be able to switch between or combine BF- and EAF-produced steel.

The new furnaces will be commissioned by the end of 2022.