Verifying the environmental and energy feasibility of potential improvement actions in the steel production chain in Brazil
The steel industry is an important pillar of the Brazilian economy. However, as in other countries, the process consumes significant amounts of resources and generates sludge, slag and air emissions. In order to improve the environmental and energy feasibilities of Brazilian steel sector a Life Cycle Assessment was carried out to identify impact sources associated with it. The analysis pointed the coal consumption as the main source of primary energy demand, and high carbon dioxide emissions in steel production, oil refining and electricity generation as the origin of climate change impacts. Three improvement alternative were proposed to reduce impacts: S1: the use of steelmaking gas to produce electricity; S2: installation of dry coke quenching technology; and, S3: replacement of the manganese ore supply. A second round of assessments indicated that changes due to S1 and S2 brought only slight gains concerning impacts, but S3 resulted in improvement in metal depletion.