Friday, August 21, 2020

EIA Natural Gas Weekly Update: "European Union looks to hydrogen as means of decarbonizing the iron and steel industry" (plus U.S. LNG exports)

From the Energy Information Administration:

In the News:
European Union looks to hydrogen as means of decarbonizing the iron and steel industry
On July 8, 2020, the European Commission (EC) published a document titled A hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. In this paper, the EC discusses the potential for hydrogen to support zero-carbon steel making. This strategy follows the March 13, 2020, EC publication of A New Industrial Strategy for Europe, which recognized that some industrial sectors will have to make a “bigger and more transformative change than most” and expressed support for breakthrough technologies leading to a zero-carbon steel making process. The 27 member states of the European Union (EU-27) aim to be greenhouse gas (GHG)-neutral by 2050, which is a European Green Deal objective and also supports the EU’s commitment under the Paris Agreement.

Iron and steel production accounted for 4% of EU-27’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018, according to the latest data from Eurostat. Although aggregate EU-27 emissions have been declining on average by 1% per year, GHG emissions have remained fairly flat in the iron and steel industry, which requires process heat and combusted fuels that are difficult to displace with carbon-free alternatives.

The EU iron and steel industry consumed 2.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy in 2018, according to Eurostat. Of this, 65% was solid fuels, almost exclusively coal. Both coal and natural gas serve as fuel for the smelting of iron ore in basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs) to produce virgin steel. Fossil fuels serve as a source of process heat and also as a reducing agent to process iron from iron ore. Compared with the BOF process that uses only some scrap steel, electric arc furnaces (EAF) are solely dependent on scrap steel to manufacture steel and special steel alloys. Although the EAF process is electric and could be decarbonized with the use of renewably generated electricity, it does require scrap steel that is currently produced exclusively with the use of fossil fuels.
The EC hydrogen strategy sets a goal to produce 10 million metric tons (approximately 1.2 quadrillion Btu) of hydrogen annually by 2030, to be deployed across various industries, including iron and steel....
...U.S. LNG exports increase week over week. Eleven liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels (four from Sabine Pass, three from Cameron, two from Cove Point, and one each from Freeport and Corpus Christi) with a combined LNG-carrying capacity of 40 Bcf departed the United States between August 13 and August 19, 2020, according to shipping data provided by Marine Traffic....