The New Zealand government and New Zealand Steel (NZ Steel), the country’s major steelmaker owned by BlueScope Steel [BSL:AU], have announced a plan to invest NZD300m (USD188m) in reducing emissions from the Glenbrook steel plant, as reported by the Guardian on May 22. As part of the plan, the government and NZ Steel will contribute NZD140m and NZD160m, respectively, to replace the plant’s existing oxygen steelmaking furnace and two of the four coal-fueled kilns with a new electric arc furnace (EAF). This transition could cut coal usage at Glenbrook steel plant in half, resulting in an annual reduction of 800,000 tons of emissions, equivalent to 1% of the nation’s total annual emissions.
New Zealand Prime minister, Chris Hipkins, emphasized that the ambitious project highlights the government’s commitment to reducing emissions as quickly as possible. The NZD140m financial support comes from the NZD650m Government Investment in Decarbonizing Industry (GIDI) Fund, which aims to assist New Zealand-based businesses in decarbonizing while maintaining global competitiveness. The adoption of an EAF at the Glenbrook plant will significantly advance the decarbonization efforts in the manufacturing and construction sectors, as the plant caters to over 90% of New Zealand’s steel requirements. Additionally, NZ Steel plans to power the EAF with electricity generated from renewable sources, further reducing the carbon footprint of its steel products. In a related development, Japan’s largest steelmaker ,Nippon Steel [5401:JP], also rec initiated a study to shift from the blast furnace (BF) steelmaking process to the EAF, aiming to accelerate its decarbonization progress.