Steel manufacturer Nucor Corporation has announced a series of new climate targets, including a target to achieve net-zero emissions from hot-rolled steel production in Scopes 1, 2 and 3.
According to Nucor, the new commitments make the company the first diversified steelmaker in the U.S. to establish greenhouse gas reduction targets that include all three areas.
Steel production is one of the largest CO2 emitters worldwide and one of the most difficult sectors to reduce. The sector’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are responsible for 7% – 9% of direct emissions from global fossil fuel use.
Nucor said its new targets, including a new interim target for 2030, are defined by the Global Steel Climate Council’s (GSCC) “Steel Climate Standard,” which aligns with the Paris Climate Agreement’s emissions reduction targets for the steel sector by 2050. and with the IEA’s ‘Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy System’ glide path.
The targets are more ambitious than Nucor’s previous targets, announced in 2021, for a 35% reduction in scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas intensity of steel mills by 2030, with 2015 as a baseline.
Greg Murphy, Nucor’s Executive Vice President of Business Services, Sustainability and General Counsel said:
“We believe that transparency in reporting emissions and routinely updating emissions reduction plans are important to successfully tackle climate change. At Nucor, we will continue to share our plans and progress and have our reporting verified by third parties. These goals and the details of our plans to achieve them will provide our customers, investors and policymakers with a clear roadmap of where Nucor wants to go and how we plan to get there.”
Nucor produces steel using recycled scrap in an electric arc furnace, allowing the company to operate at a greenhouse gas intensity more than 60% below the global average. Nucor outlined the steps it will take to achieve its goals, which include increasing the use of clean electricity, capturing and sequestering carbon and producing near-zero greenhouse gases. Nucor will also use technologies to reduce injection and carbon consumption and reduce the use of natural gas in its production processes.
One of the key methods to decarbonize facilities is to increase the use of clean electricity. Currently, approximately 40% of the company’s electricity consumption comes from clean or renewable sources. In September, Nucor and clean energy startup Helion announced an agreement to develop a 500 MW fusion power plant at a US-based Nucor steelmaking plant, which would supply the plant with carbon-free electricity. The company estimated that using fusion at one of its largest plants could reduce emissions by 500,000 tons annually.
Leon Topalian, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nucor said:
“We are the North American leader in sustainable steel production, and these goals further emphasize our leadership role in developing clean solutions for the entire steel industry, enabling our customers to successfully achieve their business and environmental goals. ”