Sheffield MP calls for green steel manufacturing in UK
A Sheffield MP has called for hydrogen-based steelmaking pilots in the UK to help the country reach its net-zero carbon emissions target of 2050.
Paul Blomfield MP for Sheffield Central, urged Anne Marie Trevelyan, minister for climate change, to back the pilots as a greener way of manufacturing steel ahead of the COP26 – the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference – in November.
It follows scientists at the University of Sheffield and Leeds securing £1.26 million funding to explore new technology and ways to decarbonise the steel industry within 30 years and Sheffield’s Liberty Steel is already working on a hydrogen steel plant in France which, if developed, would be one of the first of its type in the country.
In a Parliamentary debate titled economic recovery from Covid-19: climate action, Mr Blomfield said: “The success of the UK Presidency requires leadership at home.
“The Government has pledged to consider the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation for near zero-emission iron-ore steelmaking by 2035, but a plan for decarbonising steel production must be published before COP26.
“Hydrogen is among the emerging technologies offering solutions – and its use is progressing across the rest of Europe.
“The ECIU (Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit) recently reported on 23 pilot projects planned or live across several countries – producing 10 million tonnes of clean steel annually by 2026.
“Can the Minister say whether the Government is considering hydrogen-based pilots as part of its plan for steel?”
Ms Trevelyan said the government would soon publish its hydrogen strategy which will set out in detail the government’s plans as well as a £250 million fund for pilot projects but did not commit to UK pilots for steelmaking.
Mr Blomfield said: “To make the ‘rapid, unprecedented and far-reaching transitions‘ that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended, Government has to work with industry to create greener manufacturing – we need investment in practical solutions which reduce our carbon footprint, not just tokenistic gestures.
“We are already behind the rest of Europe on transforming steel production and so I’m disappointed that the Minister failed to take the opportunity to commit to green steel pilots in the UK. This lack of leadership threatens our credibility at COP26.”