According to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency, the iron and steel industry produces about 4 billion tons of carbon emissions each year, accounting for 10% of all energy-related climate pollution. This century has seen rapid economic growth in China and other places.

The hefty emissions and increasingly strict climate policies in some areas, including Canada and the European Union, have started to compel some companies to explore cleaner ways of producing these essential building blocks of the modern world.

Volvo received the first commercial batches of green steel from the Swedish joint venture. The steel giant SSAB, the state-owned power company Vattenfall, and the mining company LKAB used a manufacturing method that relied on carbon-free hydrogen in lieu of coal and coke. Boston Metal is exploring the use of facilities with equipment that captures carbon dioxide or completely different methods.

Charm is still evaluating another approach. In the back corner of the company's warehouse, employees have been using a narrow metal contraption called a reformer to react the company's bio-oil with hot steam and oxygen. syngas is a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

pouring bio oil
Bio-oil produced from crop remains.

The Charm Industrial.

One method of producing iron and steel could be swapped.

The blast furnace is the most common form of steel production.

Emissions occur at every stage of the process, including the production of iron, coal, and coke, the burning of fuels to run the furnace, and the chemical reactions that occur within them.

About 7% of non-recycled steel is produced in a different type of furnace. Natural gas is usually used to remove oxygen from iron oxide in a shaft furnace. This produces sponge iron, which needs to be melted and mixed with other materials. The second step can be done in an electric arcs furnace, which can run on carbon-free power from solar, wind, or nuclear plants.