Still water

The secondary route or arc furnace route operates exclusively with steel scrap and therefore emits significantly less CO2 than the - still indispensable - primary route. © Swiss Steel
The secondary route or arc furnace route operates exclusively with steel scrap and therefore emits significantly less CO2 than the - still indispensable - primary route. © Swiss Steel

The Swiss Steel Group reaches another milestone on its way to decarbonization. The Swiss Steeltec plant in Emmenbrücke now uses only electricity from Swiss hydropower to produce its special steels. For this purpose, a trend-setting strategic partnership was concluded with Axpo Holding AG. The Swiss plant can already boast very low emission levels and this step will reduce CO2 emissions once again.

The steel industry distinguishes between two production routes, the primary and the secondary route, respectively the blast furnace and the electric arc furnace route. On the blast furnace route, mined iron ore is smelted into pig iron and finally into steel. Thus, new steel is produced up to the highest quality levels, but often with very high CO2 emissions. The secondary route or arc furnace route operates exclusively with steel scrap and therefore emits much less CO2 than the primary route. The melting process takes place in electric arc furnaces, so the main energy source is electricity.

The Swiss Steel Group operates its steel mills exclusively on the electric arc furnace route. The Group’s emissions are around 78 percent below the industry average due to the use of scrap, decarbonized energy and a functioning circular economy.

The ecological footprint of theSteeltec plant in Emmenbrücke is the smallest within the Swiss Steel Group. In 2020, the steel mill emitted just 63 kg of CO2 per ton of crude steel produced in Scopes 1 and 2. This good figure compares with the industry average of around 1890 kg CO2 per ton of crude steel produced. By switching to electricity from Swiss hydropower, Steeltec not only obtains local energy, but further reduces this value. Customers benefit from rolled and bright steel material with an outstanding environmental value proposition that allows them to noticeably reduce their upstream footprint.

Under the supply agreement, Axpo will supply the Emmenbrücke plant with certified electricity from hydropower plants belonging to Axpo’s Swiss power plant fleet until 2024. By concluding this contract, the Swiss Steel Group is not only focusing on sustainability and green electricity, but also ensuring that the Group’s emissions, which are already low compared with the industry average, can be reduced even further.
“We are proud to be in a position today to offer our customers steel melted exclusively with the use of Swiss hydroelectricity,” said Frank Koch, CEO of Swiss Steel Group AG on the occasion of the switch to green electricity. “In doing so, we are not only making a vital contribution to the decarbonization of our industry, but also to a greener, more sustainable society.”

Laurent Nanzer, Head of Origination Switzerland at Axpo, adds: “In Switzerland, as in other European countries, we are seeing a strong increase in demand for electricity from hydropower and other renewable energies. Awareness of the need for production processes that are as low in CO2 emissions as possible has increased in many industries. With our many years of Europe-wide expertise and our innovative customer solutions, which include electricity supply contracts and PPAs, we are making a decisive contribution to helping domestic industry make the switch to more environmentally friendly production and further reduce CO2 emissions.”
However, the use of renewable energy at the Swiss site is not the only one in the Group. The steel mill in Canada and bright steel production in Düsseldorf also produce entirely with electricity from renewable sources. Production in Germany and France are also converting to renewable energy at the request of customers.

Thanks to its in-depth expertise in recycling and electric arc furnace technology, high operating standards and the use of energy from renewable sources, the Swiss Steel Group is one of the leading suppliers of green steel.

About Swiss Steel Group
The Swiss Steel Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of individual solutions in the field of special steel long products. The Group is one of the leading producers of both tool steel and stainless long steel on the global market and is one of the two largest companies in Europe for alloyed and high-alloyed engineering steel. With almost 10,000 employees and its own production and distribution companies in more than 30 countries on five continents, the company ensures global support and supply for its customers and offers them a complete portfolio of production and sales & services worldwide. They benefit from the company’s technological expertise, consistently high product quality worldwide, and detailed knowledge of local markets.