Steel manufacturer Nucor Corporation announced a series of new climate targets, including a goal to achieve net zero emissions across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 from the production of hot rolled steel.
According to Nucor, the new commitments make the company the first diversified steelmaker in the U.S. to set GHG reduction targets encompassing all three scopes.
Steelmaking is one of the biggest emitters of CO2 globally, and one of the more challenging sectors to abate, with total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the sector accounting for 7% – 9% of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuels.
Nucor said that its new goals, including a new interim target for 2030, are defined by the Global Steel Climate Council’s (GSCC) “Steel Climate Standard,” which aligns with the Paris Climate Agreement’s emission reduction goals for the steel sector by 2050, and with the IEA’s “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy System” glidepath.
The targets are more ambitious that Nucor’s previous goals, announced in 2021, for a 35% reduction in steel mill scope 1 and scope 2 GHG intensity by 2030, using 2015 as a baseline.
Greg Murphy, Nucor’s Executive Vice President of Business Services, Sustainability and General Counsel said:
“We believe that transparency in reporting emissions and routinely updating emissions reduction plans are each important to successfully address climate change. At Nucor, we will continue to share our plans and progress and have our reporting verified by third parties. These targets and the details of our plans to achieve them will provide our customers, investors and policymakers with a clear roadmap of where Nucor is going and how we plan to get there.”
Nucor produces steel using recycled scrap metal in an electric arc furnace, enabling the company to operate with GHG intensity more than 60% below the global average. Nucor outlined the steps it will take to achieve its goals, inclduing increasing the use of clean electricity, carbon capture and sequestration and near zero GHG iron making. Nucor will also utilize technologies to reduce its consumption of injection and charge carbon and will reduce the use of natural gas in its production processes.
One of the key methods to decarbonize its facilities is to increase the use of clean electricity. Currently, approximately 40% of the company’s electricity use comes from clean or renewable sources. In September, Nucor and clean energy startup Helion announced an agreement to develop a 500 MW fusion power plant at a U.S.-based Nucor steel manufacturing facility, providing the facility with zero-carbon electricity. The company estimated that deploying fusion at one of its largest mills could reduce emissions by 500,000 metric tons annually.
Leon Topalian, Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nucor said:
“We are the North American leader in sustainable steelmaking, and these targets further highlight our leadership role in developing clean solutions for the entire steel industry, as well as empowering our customers to meet their business and environmental goals successfully.”