The Top 5: Steel Companies in India & Their Commitments to Reduce CO2 Emissions

Highlights :

  • Indian Steel Association: Steel companies to reduce emissions to 2.4 tonnes of CO2/per tonne of crude steel output by 2030 from 2.6 tonnes in 2020
The Top 5: Steel Companies in India & Their Commitments to Reduce CO2 Emissions

The Iron and Steel industry is one of the most crucial parts of human existence. The development of any nation is directly linked to its steel consumption. The story is no different for India which is not only a consumer but also a significant producer of steel. Besides, producing 120 Million Tonnes (MT) of crude steel during the FY2022, in recent years, India surpassed Japan as the second-largest steel producer after China. Further, amid the government’s continued focus on the construction of roads, railways, ports and, airports, steel demand is expected to grow by around 10% through 2026, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

However, the flip side is that – the steel sector in India has a high carbon footprint, and contributes almost a third of direct industrial CO2 emissions. Steel mills in India contribute 10-11 per cent of total carbon emissions from the country. This remains a concern considering that the Indian steel industry will grow at high rates, adding 40 million tonnes in the next five years. Therefore, if measures are not taken to reduce its carbon footprint at the earliest, it will be responsible for huge carbon emissions in the coming years. As per a 2020 report by International Energy Agency (IEA), Indian crude steel production will increase to 180 Mt in 2030 and to 350 Mt by 2050.

Steel Needs to Go Green

The Steelmakers’ customers – and their buyers in turn – want clean products. One of the major issues with the Indian steel industry is India’s heavy reliance on coal throughout various steelmaking processes. Moreover, the sector is heterogeneous and plagued by using a wide range of equipment with some rather dated and inefficient technology. There are numerous players from small to medium steel mills that are often less efficient and more polluting.

The steel producers need to step up on government policies towards decarbonisation, as India eyes to achieve net-zero by 2070. The government recently brought Green Hydrogen Mission for promoting the utilisation of green hydrogen in the country. The Iron and Steel sector is a big stakeholder in it. Globally, there is a huge focus on green hydrogen to produce steel to reduce emissions.

Apart from this, the Steel Association of India (SAI) recently prepared a list of policy enablers which can push green steel in the country. It includes preferential public procurement of green steel, the introduction of standards for green steel and more. Thus, with a vision and in a response to the need to produce steel cleanly, steel Companies have come forward with goals and targets toward net-zero.

Steel Companies Aim To Reduce Emissions

Indian steel companies demanded federal subsidies and tax incentives to source new technologies, according to Indian Steel Association, ahead of the country’s annual budget on February 1. The companies seek to reduce emissions to 2.4 tonnes of CO2/per tonne of crude steel output by 2030 from 2.6 tonnes in 2020.

Following is the list of the top 5 Key Steel Companies in India & Their Commitments to Reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions:

#1 Tata Steel Ltd.

Production Capacity – 34 MTPA (Million Tonnes Per Annum)

Tata Steel Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Tata Group. Tata Steel Group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel production capacity of 34 million tonnes. The firm has manufacturing units at Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, and Kalinganagar, Odisha. The group recorded a consolidated turnover of 21.06 billion US dollars in FY 2021-22. With its headquarters in Mumbai, the company has an active presence in around 50 countries.

Tata Steel has a mission to bring down the carbon dioxide emissions to 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of crude steel by 2030. The firm also aims to become water-neutral by 2030 at all its sites, and a zero-effluent organisation by 2025. It has plans to produce a major portion of its steel from scrap-based production processes in the coming decade. The scrap-based production process is less carbon-intensive than the traditional blast furnace or oxygen furnace route. On that front, the firm has set up a small 0.5 million tonne scrap processing plant in Rohtak.

For existing processes, Tata Steel looks forward to enabling hydrogen-based sustainable steel production as a step towards achieving the company’s vision of net-zero emissions. The firm also undertook a trial for continuous injection of coal bed methane (CBM) in the blast furnace of its largest plant at Jamshedpur to reduce carbon emissions.

#2 JSW Steel Ltd.

Production Capacity – 18 MTPA

JSW Steel Ltd., of JSW Group, is one of the largest Steel Companies in India. The Company has a steelmaking capacity of 18 MnTPA. JSW has a significant presence in the domestic as well as international market. The Company has plants in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. Indian steel major plans to increase its capacity to produce around 27 million tonnes (MT) of crude steel by the financial year 2022 from about 18 MT in the fiscal year 2020.

The new 5 MTPA project at Vijayanagar will be sustainable, focussing on a circular economy by optimising water, waste, carbon and energy footprint. JSW Steel has set a target of achieving CO2 emissions of 1.95 tCO2e per tonne of steel by Fiscal 2030.

JSW secured PPA for 2.5GW renewable projects and commenced operations at a 225MW solar power plant in Vijayanagar, Karnataka, in April 2022. The firm also secured tie-ups with various states for 5GW Hydro-pumped storage projects. Furthermore, the company has in pipeline 1.26 GW of Wind projects to start operation by FY23. In an optimistic scenario company’s renewables-led growth may reach 10GW capacity by FY25 and 20GW by FY30.

#3 Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)

Production Capacity – 21 MTPA

SAIL is an Indian government-owned steel-making firm situated in New Delhi and is also one of the seven Maharatna’s of the country’s Central Public Sector Enterprises. The company operates from five integrated plants at Bhilai, Rourkela, Durgapur, Bokaro, and Burnpur, and three special steel plants at Salem, Durgapur, and Bhadravathi.

The Ministry of Steel has already submitted the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for reducing GHG emissions in the Iron & Steel sector, while projecting CO2 emission of 2.2-2.4 T/TCS (Tonnes per ton of crude steel) in the BF-BOF route and 2.6- 2.7 T/TCS in DRI- EAF route by the terminal year 2030, from 3.1 T/TCS during 2005. Accordingly, SAIL has fixed up a target of 2.30 T of CO2 emission per ton of crude steel production by 2030.

#4 Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL)

Production Capacity – 8.4 MTPA

The industrial powerhouse is among the top steel companies in India apart from a significant presence in steel, power, mining, and infrastructure sectors. The firm has a total production capacity of 8.6 MnTPA in India and around 2.4 MnTPA in Oman. JSPL’s business operations span across the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Jharkhand in India.

JSPL has ESG objectives to be amongst the top 10 lowest Co2 emitting steel companies in the world. The firm aims to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by almost half as part of its ESG objectives. At JSPL’s Angul site, the company adopted the DRI-BF- Electric Arc Furnace route for manufacturing steel. To overcome the challenge of non-availability of natural gas Coal to gas plant was set up. It uses high ash coal, available in the vicinity of the site, and converts it into Synthetic Gas or SynGas.

#5 Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (Vizag Steel)

Production Capacity – 7.3 MTPA

The Vishakhapatnam-based RINL, also known as Vizag Steel, is one of the Navratnas and one of the major players in the country for Long Products. The products of RINL include Rebars, Wire Rods, Rounds, Blooms & Billets, and Pig Iron. The company also markets the resultant by-products like coal chemicals and slag. It owns Eastern Investment Limited (EIL) with 51% shareholding, which in turn has two subsidiaries, viz. M/s Orissa Mineral Development Company Ltd (OMDC) and M/s Bisra Stone Lime Company Ltd (BSLC). With a market share of 9.5 per cent in 2018-19, RINL was the largest producer of “Bars and Rods” in the country.

RINL is a participatory of World Steel Association (WSA) CO2 Data Collection programme and achieved Climate Action Member certification by WSA. The firm strives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in all stages of steel making by installing state of art cleaner technologies, process improvement, waste recycling, and afforestation. It claims reduction of CO2 by 1.3 MT annually as a result of using the State of Art cleaner technologies during the design stage. The firm also claims reduction of about 3 Million tons of CO2 by installing energy efficient technologies, process modification, capacity enhancement of sinter plants, rebuilding of blast furnaces etc.

Taking on the sustainable needs, RINL implemented 20.6 MW Waste heat recovery project on Sinter Cooler Waste Heat Recovery system on sinter machine 1 & 2 under Green Aid Plan of NEDO of Japan. Taking the direct action, RINL has taken ambition target of planting 1 tree for every ton of steel installed capacity.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.