Steelmakers to get credit for China technology transfers

by Hiroko Nakata

As pressure mounts on industries to cut greenhouse gases, some steelmakers have begun seeking ways to reduce their emissions by offering low-carbon technologies to their Chinese counterparts.

Under two model projects adopted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, a quasi-governmental body, two steelmakers will provide their latest technologies for cutting carbon dioxide emissions to Chinese steelmakers.

In return, they can include the emissions reductions in their own quotas under the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism.

Under the mechanism, countries that help developing nations reduce emissions receive certified emission reduction credits, which can be counted toward meeting Kyoto Protocol targets.

In one of the projects, Nippon Steel Engineering Co. will provide its technology for drying coal before it is carbonized to steelmaker Maanshan Iron and Steel Co. in eastern China’s Anhui Province.

With the technology, Maanshan will be able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 17,000 tons annually, Nippon Steel Engineering said. The facility will begin operation at the end of 2011, the steel engineering subsidiary of Nippon Steel Corp. said.

“Because China’s iron and steel industry is huge, such technology transfers are likely to increase in the future,” said Nippon Steel Engineering spokesman Takeshi Sawada.

The other project is by Mitsubishi Chemical Co., which plans to offer its sensor technology that automatically controls temperature rises in furnaces, and thus limits emissions.

Mitsubishi will supply the technology to Shanxi Sunlight Coking Group Holding Co. in western China’s Shanxi Province. The technology was developed by its group firms, Mitsubishi Chemical Engineering Corp. and Kansai Coke and Chemicals Co.

The technology will be introduced to four of the Chinese coke maker’s six furnaces and is slated to be operational in April 2011, allowing the company to cut 32,000 tons of emissions annually.

The pressure on Japan’s steelmakers to become more environment-friendly is expected to grow further as the ruling Democratic Party of Japan has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

According to the International Energy Agency, China’s energy-related emissions rose to 6.1 gigatons in 2007, more than triple the figure in 2000 and surpassing the 5.7 gigatons of the United States.