Zero-carbon steel production: The opportunities and role for Australia

Mahesh Venkataraman, Zsuzsanna Csereklyei, Emma Aisbett, Alireza Rahbari, Frank Jotzo, Michael Lord, John Pye*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The global steel industry is entering a period of change unprecedented in its long history, and Australia, with the globally largest exports of both iron ore and metallurgical coal, must consider its position carefully. Steel production is critical to the support of global economic development and employs sophisticated, mature and highly-optimised blast furnace technology, but is nevertheless responsible for 7–9% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Global net-zero pledges mean that the industry cannot proceed with only incremental improvements, and must anticipate major changes to its core processes, or else depend on negative emissions technologies that may cost even more to implement. Transition scenarios in this paper highlight the rate at which ‘green steel’ technologies would need to be deployed to meet sectoral net-zero targets. The paper shows the co-location of Australia's major iron ore deposits with excellent renewable energy resources, highlighting a potential advantage for local large-scale development of this industry. Deploying the huge renewable energy infrastructure required would lead to potential challenges for global materials supply chains. For Australia to find a strong and ongoing role in this industry, there it will need to consider long-sighted environmental and industrial policies, including R&D funding, project financing and (low-)emissions certification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112811
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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