The approved list does not include leading technologies of decarbonization of steel production

The European Council’s inclusion of decarbonization technologies for energy-intensive industrial sectors in the list of zero-carbon technologies under the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) is a positive signal. However, this list is incomplete, and the introduction of some recognized decarbonization technologies will not be able to obtain permits under a simplified procedure, notes the European Metallurgical Association EUROFER.

«All zero-emission technologies, such as wind, solar and hydrogen electrolyzers, depend on steel, and it is estimated that more than 74 million tons of steel are needed to expand renewable energy sources in the EU alone,» noted Axel Eggert, CEO of EUROFER.

He added that such technologies developed in Europe will be stronger if they are based on European low-carbon steel.

The conversion of existing steel mills to production processes based on hydrogen and electricity is the first step towards achieving climate neutrality. However, according to the association, despite the recognition of these technologies as zero-emission technologies, their implementation was not included in the NZIA. This means that they will remain outside the scope of the new rules that facilitate permitting procedures.

«A potential reassessment five years after the entry into force of the law will be too late for the first wave of the transition process in the steel sector and will likely lead to significant delays in implementation,» EUROFER said.

In addition, the association believes that the future negotiations between the EU institutions should aim to create a well-functioning value added chain in the carbon capture, utilization and use (CCUS) market, especially regarding the preparation of storage, transport network and financing.

«The successful transition of our sector will also depend on the availability of markets that are willing to pay a premium for low-carbon products. The EU must support “green” markets with ambitious sustainability criteria to reward environmentally sustainable production throughout the cleantech value chain,» noted Axel Eggert.

EUROFER recalled that the EU steel industry is currently working on more than 60 industrial-scale decarbonization projects aimed at mass production of low-CO2 steel in 2025-2026.

As GMK Center reported earlier, EBA believes that the lack of carbon capture and utilization infrastructure is a risk to the EU’s industrial decarbonization. Industrialists are in favor of maintaining the current target for creating CO2 storage facilities at the EU level.