How Czech steel companies invest in reducing emissions
Czech steel producers have invested over CZK 40 billion in technologies that reduce harmful emissions since 1993. Over the period, particulate matter emissions dropped by 94 percent. Emissions of sulphur dioxide are down by three quarters, while emissions of nitrogen oxides have dropped by more than two thirds. The wave of investments in 2014 and 2015, when two largest Czech steelmakers installing technologies for dedusting, desulphurization and denitrification of many of their operations at about CZK 10 billion, has significantly contributed to the decrease in harmful emissions. The companies have received almost half of the said amount from the European Union funds by having complied in advance with the emission limits set for the use of the best available technologies.
ArcelorMittal Ostrava has gradually installed fabric filters to dedust agglomerations, technological paths and power plants, and in addition, it has also desulphurized a coking plant. In 2014 and 2015, it invested in a total of thirteen technologies to further reduce emissions. As a result, dust emissions dropped from 2,062 tonnes in 2004 to 379 tonnes in 2017. Thanks to investments since 2003, emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which include benzo(a)pyrene, have fallen from 1,751 tons per year to today’s amount of 22 tons.
Similar measures were also taken by Třinecké železárny. They dedusted and desulphurized two agglomerations, and upgraded a coking plant and other operations. By dosing activated carbon into flue gases from sinter strands of both agglomerations, they capture polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In 2017, dust emissions dropped to a new historic minimum of 148 tons.
A study by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic has shown that between 2010 and 2020, Czech steel companies must invest CZK 35 billion to meet the requirements of the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive. Approximately 60 percent of this amount was invested by 2016. However, additional investments will be required by tightening of the emission limits for large combustion sources following from the revision of the European conclusions of best available techniques of 2017.
These investments have contributed not only to improving the environment, but also to stimulating the local economy. Parts of technology were delivered by Czech companies, and companies from the region participated in the installation.
A 2015 study prepared for the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic examined economic benefits of the greening investments of CZK 5.1 billion in all Czech industry in the period of 2013 to 2015. Thanks to the investments, the total economic output in the Czech Republic increased by CZK 9.7 billion over the monitored period and the total tax receipts of the government increased by CZK 870 million.
When steelmakers invest in the environment, not only can people in the region breathe easier, they also stimulate the local economy, helping towns and cities grow and better serve their inhabitants.