Billionaire steel magnate commits to net zero by 2030

Billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has said his steel empire will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the next decade, following a merger of his global businesses.

The Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG Alliance), which owns steel businesses around the world, made the net zero announcement today. The merger includes the Liberty House Group, which in 2017 bought out the ailing Tata Steel Europe speciality steel division for £100m. 

Gupta said that the formation of the new Liberty Steel Group, will allow the company to produce 18m tonnes of steel annually, making it the fourth largest steel manufacturer in Europe and the world’s eighth largest producer, outside of China.

The $15 billion group will employ 30,000 people across 200 operations in 10 countries, including its operations in Rotherham, Stocksbridge, Brinsworth and Wednesbury, two rolling mills in Dalzell and Clydebridge and its steel recycling plant in Newport, the company said.

At the heart of the merger is the roll-out of its Greensteel strategy, which adopts low-carbon energy approaches such as using hydrogen generated from renewable power to produce steel and moving away from blast furnaces to electric arc furnaces used to recycle scrap steel – Liberty’s plants currently recycle 3m tonnes of scrap steel annually.

The strategy also incorporates the use of carbon capture and storage as a decarbonisation method. 

Speaking at World Steel Dynamics’ European conference in Milan, Italy, Sanjeev Gupta said that if the 2030 target was achieved, his company would become the first carbon neutral steel business in the world. 

“We recognise that becoming carbon neutral by 2030 is a very ambitious target but we have firm foundations already with our Greensteel strategy in motion, and with technical viability of hydrogen usage for direct reduced iron now proven, it gives us the confidence that such developments allow us to aim even higher with our goals”. 

The new Liberty Steel Group will include operations drawn from Liberty House in the UK, Liberty Steel Continental Europe, Liberty Steel USA, Infrabuild and Liberty Primary Steel and Mining Australia. 

Earlier this year, the government announced a £250m pot of money to help reduce the iron and steel industry’s carbon emissions. Ferrous metal production in the UK is responsible for 15% of industrial greenhouse gas emissions, while also being a significant source of air pollution. 

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