Steel sec­tor tem­pers pol­lu­tion In­dus­try scales back over­pro­duc­tion, sav­ing en­ergy and con­serv­ing wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to ex­pert

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By MENG FANBIN meng­fan­bin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s iron and steel busi­ness is scal­ing back on over pro­duc­tion and clamp­ing down on pol­lu­tion.

An in­dus­try in­sider con­firmed the shift, as the sec­tor brings in high-tech so­lu­tions to grap­ple with old prac­tices.

“The in­dus­try has im­proved greatly in sav­ing en­ergy, re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion and wa­ter waste,” said Li Xinchuang, pres­i­dent of the China Met­al­lur­gi­cal In­dus­try Plan­ning & Re­search In­sti­tute. His com­ments came at the Eighth China Iron & Steel En­ergy Sav­ing and Emis­sion Re­duc­tion Fo­rum in Bei­jing on Satur­day.

As a pil­lar in­dus­try, the iron and steel sec­tor ac­counts for about 15 per­cent of the to­tal car­bon emis­sions in the coun­try.

Dur­ing the last decade, the in­dus­try has re­duced its coal use by 34.4 mil­lion met­ric tons af­ter bring­ing in en­ergy-sav­ing pro­duc­tion pro­cesses, Li, also a vice-chair­man of the China Iron and Steel As­so­ci­a­tion, pointed out.

A glance at the fig­ures showed that China’s crude steel out­put jumped 108 per­cent be­tween 2007 and 2016, with an an­nual in­crease of 7.6 per­cent.

To­tal en­ergy con­sump­tion by the in­dus­try dur­ing that pe­riod grew only 93 per­cent, with an an­nual in­crease of 6.8 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the China Met­al­lur­gi­cal In­dus­try Plan­ning & Re­search In­sti­tute.

Sul­fur diox­ide emis­sions per ton of steel also fell to 0.69 kilo­gram last year from 3 kg in 2005. Dust emis­sions per ton of steel were down to 0.75 kg by the end of 2016 from 2 kg lev­els 20 years ago.

“By im­ple­ment­ing projects such as sin­ter­ing flue gas, desul­fu­r­iza­tion and us­ing gas in­stead of coal, air pol­lu­tion has been greatly re­duced,” Li said.

Waste wa­ter dis­charged dur­ing the steel mak­ing process has also been re­duced.

From 2005 to 2016, the to­tal amount of waste wa­ter from the in­dus­try fell by 800 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters, from 1.2 bil­lion cu m to 400 mil­lion cu m, data high­lighted.

The amount of waste wa­ter dis­charged from mak­ing one ton of steel was down to 0.8 cu m in 2016 from 4.7 cu m in 2005.

Some com­pa­nies even re­ported fig­ures close to zero per­cent when it came to dis­charg­ing waste wa­ter.

“In ad­di­tion, solid waste has be­come less of a prob­lem,” said Li at the fo­rum.

But there is a sig­nif­i­cant dif- fer­ence be­tween com­pa­nies when it comes to en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Li stressed that ma­jor play­ers such as Baowu Steel Group, Taiyuan Iron and Steel Corp, and Tang­shan Iron and Steel Co have made ma­jor in­roads into curb­ing pol­lu­tion.

The cost of pro­duc­ing one ton of steel varies con­sid­er­able, de­pend­ing on the mea­sures brought in to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment. Sta­tis­tics showed it ranged from less than 80 yuan ($11.8) to 180 yuan.

“The dif­fer­ence ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion costs goes against the idea of fair com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket, and is pre­vent­ing healthy de­vel­op­ment in the in­dus­try,” Li said.

In 2015, the to­tal en­ergy con­sump­tion of China’s iron and steel in­dus­try de­clined for the first time in nearly 30 years. The in­dus­try’s com­pre­hen­sive en­ergy con­sump­tion per ton of steel has dropped to less than 580 kilo­grams stan­dard coal, be­cause of im­proved pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies and equip­ments.

ZHANG MINGWEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

A man makes steel at a fac­tory in Ma’an­shan, An­hui prov­ince.

LIAN ZHEN / XIN­HUA

Work­ers re­move a blast fur­nace at a Baowu Steel Group plant in Bao­tou, In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, in or­der to re­duce ca­pac­ity.

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