The key environmental aspects for SSAB to concentrate on are:
- Reduced emissions into the air of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and dust
- Reduced emissions into water of nitrogen and suspended substances
- Efficient use of raw materials and energy in all stages
- A reduction in the volume of process waste sent for depositing
Efficient use of resources contributes to increased profitability. Energy efficiency lowers energy costs, and innovative utilization of by-products contributes to a more efficient use of resources. All this contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions. SSAB has an overall environmental target to have lowered CO2 emissions by ton of produced steel in 2012 by at least 2% compared to the base year 2008.
Collaborations to demonstrate environmental benefits
A part of SSAB's strategy is also to develop environmental efforts through sector collaboration and customer dialogue. With high-strength steel, the end product has a lower weight and an increased lifespan.
Through customer collaborations, SSAB is able to show practical examples where high-strength steel demonstrates direct environmental benefits. In a world with declining resources the demand for SSAB's steel has increased, and further savings in resources are apparent in line with high-strength steels replacing ordinary steel. SSAB's aim for 2015 is for the share of niche products to account for 50% of the total volume.
Environmental work in 2011:
More scrap metal in Luleå
The establishment of Merox, a subsidiary which processes by-products from steel production, in Luleå has contributed to the blast furnace being able to use scrap metal as a complement to iron ore pellets, also during the winter. Previously, the piles of scrap metal attracted moisture and froze during the winter. Merox has coordinated work related to material flows in temperatures down to –35°C. In addition, in 2012, briquettes produced by Merox from by-products from Oxelösund replaced parts of the iron ore as a raw material in Luleå. Savings of costs and resources continued with focus on identifying an optimal mix of scrap metal, LD slag and briquettes.
China utilizes gas
In Kunshan, SSAB APAC has installed regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO) equipment which handles gases and waste heat from the painting line. The gases are recycled through the use, in preheaters and a drying oven, of the heat which is generated when the gases are burned. The investment represents a focus on recycling within SSAB APAC. An internal environmental organization is also under development.
Heating stoves generate double gain
At the beginning of 2012, SSAB was able to observe the full effect of the investment in heating stoves at the smaller blast furnace in Oxelösund. The gains are significant from both an environmental and economic perspective. The savings were calculated to SEK 75–120 million per year, but overall the savings are larger. The heating stoves provide a more even and stable operation of the blast furnace, which is more efficient and reduces the impact on the environment. The stoves make the hot blast air which is injected into the blast furnace even hotter, and consequently less injection coal and coke per tonne of produced iron are required in the hot metal process. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Baltic Sea carbon dioxide capture and storage project
In 2012, SSAB decided to participate in a CCS (Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) project in the Baltic Sea region. The project, BASTOR 2, is expected to end in 2014. The project involves studying whether carbon dioxide can be stored in the deep sandstone formations that are found beneath the bed of the Baltic Sea. The project takes a holistic approach and will describe consequences from both environmental and societal perspectives, and also legal aspects. In addition, possible infrastructure requirements for the transportation of carbon dioxide will be studied. SSAB, together with a number of other Swedish industrial companies, participates in the project, which is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and Global CCS Institute.p>