Making better use of carbon:Part I — The carbon dioxide problem and the steel industry

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 85, No. 958, 1992

John H. Walsh, Energy Advisor

It is becoming increasingly probable that emissions of carbon dioxide from the fossil fuels will have to be reduced to deal with the threat of global warming. This issue is likely to be resolved one way or the other in the period 1995 to 2000 which does not leave much time to develop responsive options. In the intervening period, the policy of the Government of Canada is to stabilize emissions of greenhouse gases at their 1990 level by 2000, by encouraging greater efficiency in the use of energy. Should further reductions prove necessary, economic instruments would probably be employed but these would not be applied before a comprehensive international agreement is reached. There are three main themes in this paper: it is assumed that measures to control carbon dioxide emissions will in fact be necessary by the turn of the century; that there will be a rising need for liquid fuels to supply the world's steadily growing fleet of motor vehicles for many years to come, and that the future niche for Canada's industry in such a carbon-constrained world will be the operation of the energy-intensive industries with efficiency and environmental sensitivity. The steel industry, as a large user of both coal and energy in other forms, would be significantly affected by a need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This paper first examines what might be called the conventional responses open to the industry in such a situation and then explores a new possibility for making better use of carbon by the co-production of iron and liquid fuels.
Mots Clés: Metallurgy, Carbon, Iron, Liquid fuels, Fossil fuels, Global warming, Carbon dioxide emissions.