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Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037

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CO2 removal in the iron and steel industry


Dolf Gielen *,1

National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0053, Japan
Received 22 January 2002; accepted 18 May 2002

Abstract
CO2 removal in electricity production has received a lot of attention, but CO2 removal in iron and steel
production has received little attention as of yet. This option is analysed in more detail in this paper. The
results suggest that a CO2 capture system, based on a shift reaction and physical absorption, in combi-
nation with underground or oceanic carbon storage, could be attractive. Costs are estimated to amount to
10.3–18.8 US$/t CO2 , depending on the iron production process. This cost level is similar to or even lower
than the cost level for CO2 removal for new coal fired power plants. Global CO2 emissions could be reduced
by 4%, Japanese CO2 emissions could be reduced by 6.5% (80 Mt/yr) in case this option were applied to its
full extent by the iron and steel industry. The use of this option is currently limited by uncertainties re-
garding CO2 storage potentials in deep aquifers and the environmental impacts of oceanic storage. It is
recommended to study these issues in more detail.
 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: CO2 removal; CO2 sequestration; Environmental policy; Emission mitigation

1. Introduction

Worldwide, about 420 Mt of coke and coal were used in blast furnaces in 1999 [1]. This fossil
fuel consumption results in 1.1 Gt of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions. Global CO2 emissions
(excluding deforestation and land use change) amounted to 23.9 Mt of CO2 in 1996 [2]. The
emissions in the iron and steel life cycle represent about 4.6% of the total global CO2 emissions.
CO2 is considered to be a key greenhouse gas (GHG). An increase of GHG concentrations in the
atmosphere poses a threat of climate change. In the framework of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries have agreed to reduce GHG emissions.

*
Tel.: +81-298-502-540; fax: +81-298-502-572.
E-mail address: dolf.gielen@nies.go.jp (D. Gielen).
1
Present working address: IEA, Paris.

0196-8904/02/$ - see front matter  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 1 9 6 - 8 9 0 4 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 1 1 1 - 5
1028 D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037

CO2 can be captured from flue gas streams and stored below ground. The term CO2 removal is
used for the combination of both activities. Globally, a lot of attention is paid to CO2 removal
from power plants as a strategy to reduce GHG emissions [3]. However, CO2 could also be re-
moved in the iron and steel industry. A 500 MW coal fired power plant emits about 3.8 Mt of
CO2 /yr. A 3 Mt blast furnace emits about 4 Mt of CO2 /yr. One steel plant may consist of up to five
blast furnaces, such as the Kwangyang steel plant in Korea. This plant is a source of 20 Mt of CO2
emissions per year. Such steel plants represent the single largest point source of energy related
CO2 emissions in the world. The larger the emission source, the better the economies of scale are
for CO2 capture. A clear global tendency exists towards larger primary steel production locations,
so the number of large production sites may increase even further. Especially in the East Asia
region (representing about 40% of the global primary steel production), these trends are apparent.
Blast furnace gas consists of a mixture of CO2 , CO (carbon monoxide), N2 (nitrogen) and H2
(hydrogen). The concentration of both CO2 and CO is about 20% (v/v). This high concentration
could warrant CO2 removal. However, CO2 removal from blast furnaces has received little at-
tention as of yet. The goal of this study is an appraisal of CO2 removal in the iron and steel industry.

2. Previous CO2 removal studies

Only one study has been found about CO2 removal in the iron and steel industry [4], concluding
that the costs for CO2 capture would be about 35 US$/t CO2 . This cost level is about twice as high
as the estimates for integrated gasifier combined cycle (IGCC) for power plants. All other engi-
neering studies took this conclusion for granted and have focused on CO2 removal for power
plants, see e.g. Ref. [5]. However, a comparison of CO2 removal costs among sectors is not
necessarily the optimal selection criterion. For example, in the electricity sector, CO2 removal
competes with renewable energy options that are comparatively cheap in many regions of the
world. In the steel sector, the number and impact of competing strategies is limited. Modeling
studies indicate that CO2 removal might be an attractive strategy for the iron and steel sector [6].
As a consequence, this strategy will be analysed in more detail in this paper.
Apart from the relative competitiveness, the actual cost level of 35 US$/t CO2 can be ques-
tioned. Farla et al. [4] assumed a CO2 capture system based on the use of methyldiethanolamine
(MDEA), a chemical sorbent. Chemical sorbents are especially suited for gas streams with low
CO2 concentrations (partial pressure 5 bar or lower). Blast furnace gas contains about 20% CO2
(see Table 1). However, it contains also significant amounts of CO. Using the so-called shift re-
action, this CO could be converted into CO2 , resulting in a doubling of the CO2 concentration.
Physical absorption systems for CO2 removal are more cost effective and use less energy than
chemical sorption systems in case of a partial pressure of 10 bar or more. Farla et al. [4] ac-
knowledge the existence of this option but estimate that the costs for a shift conversion would be
too high, without giving any precise figures. However, in the case of coal fired, integrated gasifier
combined cycle (IGCC) electricity production IGCC, a new type of energy efficient power plant, a
shift reaction and Selexol (dimethylether of polyethylene glycol) based CO2 removal is widely
considered the most cost effective option [5,7].
One of the advantages of CO2 removal from blast furnace gas could be upgrading the blast
furnace gas fuel quality. Blast furnace gas has a low energy content of 3 MJ/m3 (about one tenth
D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037 1029

Table 1
Flue gas composition [10,27]
Component [mol%] Shell gasifier Coal fired power plant Conventional blast furnace Corex CCF
Hydrogen 30 0 3 17 20
CO 64 0 21 44 24
CO2 1 13 20 24 44
Methane 0 0 0 2 0
Nitrogen 4 72 56 12 9
Other (H2 O, O2 ) 1 15 0 1 0
LHV (MJ/m3 ) 3.0 7.8 3.3

of the energy content of natural gas). The gas quality is insufficient to allow high efficiency
conversion to electricity in gas turbines. As a consequence, the gas is mixed with other gases with a
higher energy content, such as coke oven gas and natural gas. This gas mixture can be converted
into electricity with efficiencies of 41–42% in a combined cycle plant [8]. Mitsubishi Heavy In-
dustries has developed turbines that can use gas with a lower heating value (LHV) of 4 MJ/m3 [9].
Such gas can be produced by mixing 3% natural gas into blast furnace gas. Combined cycles using
this technology can achieve an efficiency of 46%. A new Kawasaki 11 N2 gas turbine has re-
cently been installed at the Baoshan iron and steelworks in Shanghai, using pure blast furnace gas
[10].
A modern natural gas fired power plant achieves efficiencies in the 55–60% range. As a con-
sequence, there is a heavy energy efficiency penalty on gas use for upgrading blast furnace gas,
about 14–18% electric efficiency. This efficiency loss must be attributed to the blast furnace gas.
Assuming a 55% efficiency for the natural gas fired combined cycle and 10% gas addition, the
efficiency for blast furnace gas drops from 41% to 39.6%. In comparison, the advanced Kawasaki
gas turbine for pure blast furnace gas achieves 45% electric efficiency. However, this system is not
yet widely applied.
The steel industry uses rating factors for blast furnace gas, depending on the gas application.
These rating factors indicate the quantity of blast furnace gas required compared to the quantity
of natural gas required to provide a similar heating service (GJ/GJ). It ranges from 0.2–0.5 for
reheating furnaces to 0.85–0.9 for boilers and stoves [8]. In case the CO2 is removed from the blast
furnace gas and the hydrogen concentration in the remaining gas is enriched using membranes,
the heating value of the gas could double or triple (for pure H2 , the heating value is 10.7 MJ/m3 ).
The rating factor for this gas would be 1 or close to 1. However, such a gas mixture could be
converted into electricity with the same efficiency as pure natural gas. The benefit, compared to
current energy recovery systems, amounts to 0.56 GJ electricity/t CO2 . The energy consumption
for H2 enrichment is negligible. In conclusion, capture of CO2 from blast furnaces may cost
energy, but some of this energy cost will be compensated by an increase of the conversion effi-
ciency. Farla et al. [4] have not considered this option. However, the costs of H2 enrichment
are currently prohibitive. Future feasibility will depend on the costs of membrane separation
systems.
Finally, Farla et al. [4] have focused on the existing blast furnace gas. However, there are
developments that may change this gas composition. Blast furnace gas composition is changing
because of increasing injection of coal, natural gas and plastic waste into blast furnaces. These
1030 D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037

fuels reduce the temperature in the blast furnace. This effect is balanced by 50–75 kg of oxygen
injection per ton of iron [8]. Because of oxygen enrichment, the N2 concentration in the off-gas
decreases, and the concentrations of CO, CO2 and H2 increase. Also, a number of new tech-
nologies are being developed for iron ore reduction. These technologies use pure oxygen instead of
air. In case oxygen is used, the concentration of CO and CO2 is similar to the concentration in
IGCC power plant gases. Oxygen is used for the oxygen blown blast furnaces, Corex and the
cyclone converter furnace (CCF), amongst others [11]. Basically, these processes can be consid-
ered as coal gasification units, where part of the energy is used for iron ore reduction. CO2 re-
moval from IGCC plants is considered the most cost effective removal strategy for power plants
[5]. Given the similar process design, CO2 removal from these oxygen blown systems should also
be attractive.
CO2 capture is already widely applied in the iron and steel industry in the production of DRI in
order to enhance the fuel gas quality [12]. CO2 is removed from the reduction gas, and the re-
duction gas is recycled for DRI production. Global DRI production amounted to 38.6 Mt in 1999
[13]. Ninety two percent of the production is gas based [14]. The energy consumption is about 10
GJ/t DRI, so about 20 Mt of CO2 is captured. This CO2 is nowadays vented. Costs for CO2
removal for this process are only CO2 compression costs and storage costs.

3. Analysis method

A two step approach is applied in this study. First, the costs and energy consumption of
CO2 removal systems is analysed for separate production options. Instead of using a complex
thermodynamic model for the whole system, the similarities between CO2 removal systems for
power plants (notably IGCC) and iron production processes will be used to quantify the char-
acteristics of CO2 removal.
The following configuration will be analysed in this study:

• gas cleaning;
• gas pressurization to 20 bar;
• shift reaction to convert CO into CO2 and H2 ;
• CO2 capture using Selexol;
• use the enriched hydrogen gas for power production;
• pressurize the CO2 to 100 bar and store it in depleted oil and gas fields, saline aquifers or in the
ocean.

The transportation and storage of CO2 has been discussed extensively elsewhere. There is no
basic difference with other CO2 sources, so this element will not be discussed in great detail.
For CO2 removal from an IGCC power plant, the investment costs amount to 27 US$/t CO2 .
The NOx emissions increase, although there is a reduction in SO2 emissions. A sulphur resistant
shift catalyst is the most efficient catalyst for shifting IGCC fuel gases [7]. Integration of the H2 S
and CO2 separation section of the Selexol plant may decrease the plant’s energy consumption and
increase the overall efficiency. To what extent such effects occur for blast furnaces has not been
considered in this analysis.
D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037 1031

4. Results

4.1. Process analysis

The mass and volume flows and the energy flows of the proposed CO2 removal scheme for a
conventional blast furnace are shown in Fig. 1. First, the characteristics of the IGCC reference
system will be discussed. Next, the individual steps of the CO2 removal scheme for blast furnace
gas will be discussed in detail.

4.1.1. The integrated gasifier combined cycle reference CO2 removal process
The energy consumption for an IGCC power plant without physical absorption amounts to
2.37 GJ coal/GJ electricity. In case physical absorption is applied, this coal consumption increases
to 2.78 GJ/GJ electricity. The conversion efficiency drops from 42.2% to 36.1%. Ninety percent of
the CO2 is captured. As a consequence, the electricity consumption for CO2 removal amounts to
0.70 GJ electricity/t CO2 [5]:
Electricity consumption ¼ ½2:78  ð0:422  0:361Þ=ð0:9  2:78  0:096Þ ¼ 0:706
For 2012, the forecast is even more favorable: 0.50 GJ electricity/t CO2 . This includes the energy
requirement for compressing the removed CO2 to the transport pressure (set at 100 bar). Also, this
includes the efficiency penalty for compressing the fuel gas to the required gas turbine pressure

Fig. 1. CO2 capture and storage system process flows for a conventional blast furnace.
1032 D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037

(about 0.07 GJ/t reformed gas). The water-shift reaction and removal of CO2 takes place at a
pressure about the same as in the gas turbine combustor (about 20 bar). If the hydrogen rich fuel
is fed to the gas turbine with a temperature around 200–250 C, the power output and efficiency is
similar to those of natural gas fired power plants [15].

4.1.2. Blast furnace gas pressurization


In an IGCC system, the starting pressure (following the shift conversion) is 20 bar. In the case
of blast furnace gas, the blast furnace top gas pressure is about 3 bar. This pressure is used to drive
the top pressure turbines. In a next step, the gas is cleaned from particles etc. This takes place at
atmospheric pressure. In the case of a blast furnace, the starting pressure is 1 bar. Additional
energy is required to pressurize the gas to 20 bar. Moreover, blast furnace gas contains large
amounts of N2 that must be pressurized too, increasing the energy consumption compared to the
IGCC.
Compression energy data in the literature are not consistent. Farla et al. [4] used a value of 0.27
GJ/t of CO2 for CO2 pressurization from 1 to 100 bar and 15 C. However, they used a rather high
isentropic efficiency for the compressor (85%). According to another source, the energy con-
sumption for liquefaction of CO2 to 140 bar at 25 C (for transportation in a pipeline) amounts to
0.33 GJ/t of CO2 [16]. The compression energy depends on the efficiency of the compressor
(number of steps, intercooler characteristics) and the transportation and storage characteristics
(the end pressure requirement) and may range from 0.27 to 0.41 GJ electricity/t of CO2 . An
average figure of 0.34 GJ electricity/t of CO2 will be used for this study. For the purpose of this
study, this energy consumption is split into two parts: first, the energy for compression from 1 to
20 bar (about 0.2 GJ/t of CO2 ) and from 20 to 100 bar (about 0.14 GJ/t of CO2 ).
Because the blast furnace gas consists only partially of CO and CO2 , the electricity use for
pressurization to 20 bar amounts to 0.48 GJ electricity/t of CO2 stored. Power consumption
amounts to 0.25 GJ electricity/t of CO2 stored for iron production processes using O2 .

4.1.3. Shift reaction


In the shift reactor, carbon monoxide reacts with steam:
CO þ H2 O ! CO2 þ H2
The pressure loss in the shift reactor amounts to 1 bar. Basically, the shift reaction is exo-
thermic. The reaction enthalpy is about 40.6 kJ/mol CO2 generated (about 0.92 GJ/t of CO2 ).
The shift reactor needs high temperature steam (623 K). Steam is recovered from the off-gas of the
second reactor, and some of the residual heat is used to pre-heat the feedstock and steam for the
first reactor [17]. Surplus steam may be available for other uses, but such use of surplus steam has
been neglected in this study.

4.1.4. CO2 capture


Next, CO2 is removed using Selexol. The process operates at 293 K and a pressure of ap-
proximately 20–30 bar. In practice, about 85–99.5% of the CO2 is removed from the shifted fuel
gas through lowering of the pressure [18,19]. The pressure of the residual gas part can be used in
the subsequent expansion turbine with about 80% electric efficiency.
D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037 1033

4.1.5. CO2 pressurization, transportation and storage


The CO2 must be repressurized from 1 to 100 bar, requiring 0.34 GJ electricity/t of CO2 . The
necessary pressure for transportation and storage depend on the storage option (aquifers or ocean
and depth of storage). Figures range from 80 to 100 bar for storage at 1500 and 2600 m depth,
respectively. However, the necessary pressure for a specific depth may, to some extent, depend on
the local conditions, especially the underground temperature profile. Most steel plants are located
at waterways in order to reduce transportation costs for products and resources. In many cases,
this will allow easy and cheap oceanic storage. Less pressurization is required in the case of
oceanic storage. From a depth of about 500 m (where a 50 bar pressure exists), CO2 hydrates form
that sink to the bottom [21].

4.1.6. Secondary benefits from blast furnace gas upgrading


The preceding analysis excludes the benefits from increased energy efficiency of energy recovery
from blast furnace gas. In practice, part of the blast furnace gas is used for pre-heating air for the
blast furnace, where these benefits do not occur. Moreover, the credit decreases if the new blast
gas turbine is used as a reference. Assuming a 50% use for electricity production and a benefit of
0.56 GJ electricity/t of CO2 , the average benefit amounts to 0.28 GJ electricity/t of CO2 . This is a
high estimate of benefits. In a conservative estimate, these benefits are not considered.

4.1.7. Cost assessment


Compared to an IGCC, an additional compressor is required to pressurize the blast furnace gas
to 20 bar. The investment costs for the shift reactor are negligible compared to the costs for the
separation unit [20]. The separation unit costs are proportional to the CO2 concentration. The
CO2 concentration in the gas flow from the shift reactor is 41% compared to 64% for the IGCC.
As a consequence, the investment costs for the Selexol unit are 1.5 times higher per unit of CO2 .
However, the process economics depend also to a large extent on the scale of operations. It is
assumed that about 4 Mt of CO2 equivalents are available for removal (approximately one blast
furnace capacity equivalent). This size is equal to an IGCC gas removal project. However, in case
the size is twice as large, the investment costs per ton of CO2 drop by 20% [4]. In the case of very
large iron production sites (e.g. the Kwangyang plant mentioned before), investment costs may
drop by another 20%.
With regard to CO2 capture, electricity costs of 15 US$/GJ and a 12% depreciation rate and 25
yr life span for the CO2 capture installation have been assumed. Some recent sources claim
transportation and oceanic storage costs of 0.5–2 US$/t for transportation distances up to 600 km
[21]. In this study, costs for transportation and storage have been set at 5 US$/t of CO2 (excluding
electricity costs for CO2 pressurization). This is a conservative estimate.
Total costs range from 10.3 US$ for DRI to 18.8 US$/t of CO2 for the conventional blast
furnace (see Table 2). The cost range indicated for the conventional blast furnace and oxygen
blown blast furnace reflect the economies of scale (4–16 Mt of CO2 /yr). The value between
brackets refers to a blast furnace equipped with a residual gas membrane separation system in
order to obtain fuel gas of higher quality. However, the feasibility of such a system is not yet
proven on the scale that would be required for a blast furnace. These estimates suggest such a
system may be a cost effective alternative. It is assumed that the Corex and CCF will only be used
in smaller units of about 4 Mt of CO2 /yr, so no scale benefits arise compared to the IGCC. In
1034 D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037

Table 2
CO2 capture, transportation and storage costs, using Selexol
Conventional Oxygen COREX CCF DRI
blast furnace blown blast
furnace
Electricity consumption (GJ electricity/t CO2 ) 0.62 (0.34) 0.59 0.59 0.59 0.34
Investment (US$/t CO2 /yr) 16–25 (35) 13–20 25 25 1
O&M costs (US$/t CO2 ) 1.25 (2) 2 1.25 1.25 0.05
Storage costs (US$/t CO2 ) 5 5 5 5 5
CO2 emission electricity production (t CO2 /t CO2 ) 0.062 0.07 0.07 0.038 0.021
Total costs (US$/t CO2 ) 17.6–18.8 (16.7) 17.5–18.5 18.4 18.4 10.3
Figure between brackets includes secondary benefits of fuel quality upgrading.

conclusion, the costs for CO2 capture are not higher and may possibly be even lower than CO2
capture and removal for the IGCC (about 25 US$/t of CO2 ). The conventional blast furnace and
the oxygen blown iron production systems have similar CO2 removal costs. The removal costs for
the DRI production system are about 45% lower because CO2 capture can be avoided.
Note that this assessment does not account for other cost differences between iron production
routes (e.g. the costs of various iron production systems, or different conversion costs from iron to
steel). As a consequence, the selection of optimal iron and steel production systems requires an
extended analysis, which is beyond the scope of this paper.

4.2. Application to Japan

In Japan, iron is produced on 14 sites (see Table 3). Most sites are located on the Southern and
Eastern shore of Honshu. The size of the iron production sites differs considerably, three of the
sites being rather small and less suited for CO2 removal. Assuming a recovery efficiency of 90% for
the other 11 sites, about 80 Mt of CO2 could be recovered from blast furnaces. Japanese CO2
emissions amounted to 1225 Mt in 1999 [22]. The emission reduction potential represents 6.5% of
the total Japanese CO2 emissions. The fact that only five companies are involved will facilitate the
discussions and planning of potential CO2 removal projects.
An uncertain factor in the case of Japan is the CO2 storage capacity in deep saline aquifers. The
high seismic and volcanic activity poses constraints on CO2 storage. If Japan is to use this
technology, it is assumed that the CO2 would be separated and captured from large emission
sources, then transported by pipelines to areas where CO2 could be injected into the aquifer under
the seas surrounding Japan. The reasons for storing it there are: (i) conditions would be safer there
when injecting CO2 under pressure (ii) data obtained until now indicates that the largest storage
potential exists in the aquifers under Japan’s coastal waters and (iii) the location of these reservoir
is close to the blast furnaces along the Southern and Southeastern coast of Honshu. Storage
capacity estimates vary widely from 1.2 billion tons of CO2 [23] to 72 billion tonnes [24]. The
lower estimate is equivalent to 60 million tons of CO2 (about 5% of all of the CO2 that Japan
emitted in 1990) that could be injected each year in the off-shore aquifers over a period of 20 yr.
These figures suggest that storage capacity is a limiting factor. In case the higher estimate is
correct, there is no such limitation. Also, storage in the ocean may become available in the long
D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037 1035

Table 3
Production, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from Japanese blast furnaces, 1999 [28]
Company Site Iron pro- Coke pro- Coke pur- Coke con- Other PCI Total CO/CO2
duction duction chase sumption fuels (kg/t) fuel flow (Mt
(Mt/yr) (Mt/yr) (Mt/yr) (kg/t) (kg/t) (kg/t) CO2 eq/yr)
Nippon Yahata 3.53 1.37 0 348 0 152 500 4.68
steel Nagoya 5.94 2.34 0 363 0 133 496 7.81
Kimitsu 8.45 3.88 0 371 0 140 511 11.44
Ooita 7.16 2.92 0.12 352 0 130 482 9.15
Muroran 1.71 0.95 0 367 0 132 499 2.26
NKK Keihin 3.15 1.81 0 454 0 101 555 4.63
Fukuyama 9.72 4.12 0.26 387 0 157 544 14.01
Kawasaki Chiba 4.07 2.18 0 476 0 67 543 5.86
steel Mizushima 8.22 4.18 0 416 0 104 520 11.33
Sumitomo Kokura 1.16 0 0.46 371 0 128 499 1.53
Wakayama 3.14 1.55 0 413 0 130 543 4.52
Kashima 6.18 3.03 0.01 409 5 83 497 8.14
Kobe steel Kobe 1.32 0 0.52 333 0 176 509 1.78
Kakogawa 6.01 2.44 0.07 329 0 207 536 8.54
Total 69.77 95.68

term (beyond 2010) if the environmental impacts can be kept at an acceptable level. The storage
capacity would be several orders of magnitude larger. Japan is in a unique geographical position
for oceanic storage with a very deep sea trench only 200–300 km to the east of Honshu. It was
mentioned before that some recent sources claim transportation and storage costs of 0.5–2 US$/t
for transportation distances up to 600 km [21]. In conclusion, it is recommended to pay more
attention to this option. Its relevance extends beyond the iron and steel sector. Global CO2
emissions could be reduced by about 4% if this option were to be applied worldwide, and Japanese
emissions could be reduced by about 6.5% (80 Mt/yr).
CO2 injection into depleted oil fields for enhanced oil recovery is state-of-the-art. A pilot plant
has been built on the Norwegian continental shelf for CO2 injection in deep saline aquifers. In
2001, a project starts to inject 50 to 100 t of CO2 off the coast of Hawaii in order to study this
option in more detail [25]. Currently, deep ocean disposal of CO2 is illegal because the environ-
mental impacts are not clear [26]. As a consequence, large scale CO2 storage in aquifers may be
feasible within the framework of the Kyoto protocol time horizon (2008–2012). Oceanic storage is
probably only feasible beyond this time horizon.
Table 4 provides an overview of the long term emission reduction potentials and emission
reduction costs. The costs of CO2 removal seem not excessive compared to other emission re-
duction options. Moreover, this is an analysis from a company cost perspective. In fact, from a
national perspective, the costs may be close to the costs of projects abroad in the framework of the
clean development mechanism (CDM) because CO2 removal projects will create national eco-
nomic activity, while CDM projects (e.g. afforestation projects) largely result in economic activity
abroad. As a consequence, even in the framework of the Kyoto time horizon of 2008–2012,
1036 D. Gielen / Energy Conversion and Management 44 (2003) 1027–1037

Table 4
Overview of Japanese national emission reduction potentials for the iron and steel industry [6]
Category Option Potential 2010 (potential 2020) Costs (US$/t CO2 )
(Mt CO2 /yr)
Energy efficiency Coal injection 8.9 (8.9) 0
Energy recovery 3.2 (3.2) 100
Near net shape casting 1.0 (4.5) 100 to 0
Smelting reduction 10 (35) 0
Fuel switch Natural gas 20 (70) 10–20
Charcoal 10 (35) 20–50
Waste plastics 15 (15) 0
CO2 removal Aquifers/oceanic 20 (80) 10–20
Materials efficiency 5 (20) 100 to 100

sufficient attention should be paid to CO2 removal. Proper financing mechanisms should be de-
veloped, e.g. so-called grandfathering of emission rights and, subsequently, CO2 emission re-
duction credits sold by the iron and steel industry.

5. Conclusions

Previous studies have concluded that the costs for CO2 removal from blast furnaces are about
35 US$/t of CO2 . However, the costs are exaggerated because a shift reactor has not been con-
sidered in the process design, the use of Selexol was not considered and the secondary benefits of
CO2 removal (fuel gas upgrading) have been neglected. Based on the analysis in this study, it is
concluded that alternative process schemes can result in a significant reduction of the CO2 re-
moval costs to about 16.7–18.8 US$/t of CO2 for conventional blast furnaces. As a consequence,
CO2 removal from blast furnaces is competitive with CO2 removal in IGCC plants. Moreover, the
costs are low compared to many other CO2 emission reduction options in the iron and steel in-
dustry. In case new technology is introduced for iron production, removal costs may change. The
results indicate a range from 10.3 to 18.5 US$/t of CO2 .
An uncertain factor in the case of Japan is the CO2 storage capacity below land and in aquifers
below the continental shelf. Still, even conservative estimates suggest a significant storage po-
tential. However, storage in the ocean may become available in the long term (beyond 2010) if the
environmental impacts can be kept at an acceptable level. In conclusion, it is recommended to pay
more attention to this option. Its relevance extends beyond the iron and steel sector. Global CO2
emissions could be reduced by about 4% if this option were to be applied worldwide, and Japanese
emissions could be reduced by about 6.5% (80 Mt/yr).

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