Monday, 18 February 2013

Talk by Malcolm Lee – A Manufacturing Perspective on UK and EU Climate Change Policy

At our February 2013 meeting, Malcolm Lee gave a talk about ‘A Manufacturing Perspective on UK and EU Climate Change Policy’

Malcolm is the Energy and Commercial manager at Forgemasters. He explained the carbon footprint of steel making is high due to the process requiring a great deal of energy.

Although the burning of natural gas has been made more efficient, Forgemasters’ most recent reductions in carbon dioxide emissions is due to reduced production.  In 5 days China produces as much steel as UK does in a year.  Only 45% of UK steel demand is produced in UK.

German companies enjoy cheap electricity; domestic users pay the renewable subsidies.  High UK production costs result in carbon leakage; the carbon footprint of imported goods is not included in UK emissions. Jobs are lost in this country and the steel is made in places like China instead.

In theory steel could be made using renewable electricity with arc furnaces but they need large amounts of energy at the flick of a switch. This type of furnace is more efficient that a blast furnace in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.