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Tata Steel playing a key part in a lower carbon, more sustainable world

2 June 2011 No Comment

June is Tata Environment Month. Launched last year to mark the annual World Environment Day on June 5, it’s an opportunity for Tata companies worldwide to spread awareness about global environment challenges and the steps we are taking to solve them.

TEM2011-news_size-v2This year we want to show how Tata Steel’s activities and products can and do contribute to a more sustainable world.

Contributing to a more sustainable world

Nearly everyone agrees that our world would be better off if we used less energy, fewer natural resources and created less waste. Our industry and others are often painted as the ‘bad guys’. We want to show you the other side of the argument. Our side.

Over the course of this month we aim to set out the case for the steel industry as a key part of a more sustainable, lower carbon world. We will show how:

  • Steel is a truly sustainable material
  • Our products are helping create a low carbon economy
  • Our cutting edge technologies are boosting sustainability
  • We are leading the way in the industry
  • We are working together with others

This week we focus on the products we make and are developing for a low carbon economy

Many people believe that the answer to dealing with climate change is innovation. For example, that we should use our ingenuity to tap into the freely-available sources of energy such as solar, wind and wave, rather than using up the earth’s stock of oil, gas and coal.

Renewable energy needs steel. Wind towers, wave turbines, solar panels are all built using steel, and converting this energy into electricity needs specialist electrical steels, such as the ones made by Cogent, our Tata Steel business in South Wales and in Sweden. By providing both the material and the expertise, we are offering renewable energy solutions.

Wind and wave power

Our steel is used by the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers. Steel plate manufactured by Long Products is used in onshore and offshore wind towers and foundations all over the world. Engineering steel made by Speciality Steels is used in wind turbine gearing and mechanisms.

Our steel and expertise contributed to the UK’s first off-shore windfarm. We are currently evaluating proposals to invest in manufacturing facilities on Teesside to produce steel foundation structures for offshore wind farms. The plant will contribute to the UK government’s aim of generating 35 gigawatts of electricity – around 15 per cent of the country’s total energy requirements – from offshore wind turbines within the next decade.

Our steel is being used in other renewable technologies such as wave power and tidal flows – for example in schemes such as the Pelamis ‘wave farm’ in Scotland.

Solar power

Our commitment to solar energy is shown by our £6.5 million investment in the Sustainable Building Envelope Centre in Shotton, UK. Built in conjunction with the Low Carbon Research Institute and the Welsh Assembly Government, it is a research centre for low carbon technologies. It is based on a commitment to using buildings as a source of storing, generating and releasing energy.

It is also a showcase for technologies such as solar panels, photovoltaic cells, and the transpired solar collector, a way of collecting solar energy through a surface steel collector and using it as a source of heated, ventilated air. Tata Steel Building Systems is involved in 11 demonstration projects for this around Europe.

We are also supporting SPECIFIC, a £20 million five-year programme in South Wales to develop and bring to market new coatings for roofs and walls made of steel or glass that will enable buildings to generate, store and release energy.

Tata Steel and Dyesol

Tata Steel is working with the Australian company Dyesol on an exciting emerging photovoltaic technology known as dye solar cell, or DSC, that mimics photosynthesis in plants. Over three years the partnership will develop, manufacture and market metal roofing and wall cladding products with DSC functionality integrated into the strip steel. A dedicated R&D facility, including a pilot production line, has been built at our site in Shotton, Wales.

Kalzip, our specialist aluminium roofing business, has developed AluPlusSolar, an integrated roofing sheet with a flexible thin film laminate containing a highly efficient solar energy technology known as triple junction amorphous silicon photovoltaic.

Products and innovations from our Netherlands-based construction centre demonstrate that buildings can save or generate enough energy to compensate for their construction. Thermo Active ceilings and floors use metal’s conductivity to help regulate heating and cooling. Comfort Vite, a ‘heating wall’, offers energy-efficient space heating. Ceiling system EMC2, uses the conductivity and shape of steel decking to allow heat to be buffered and exchanged.

Our researchers and experts are working with the British Constructional Steelwork Association on Target Zero – a project to offer construction companies guidance on how to build sustainable low and zero carbon buildings for schools, warehouses, supermarkets and offices.

Confidex Sustain®, made by Colors, is the world’s first CarbonNeutral building envelope product. Its impact from manufacture, to installation, to its end of life in re-use, recycling or disposal is measured and offset. Tata Steel offsets every kilogram of CO2 that is used in this process in carbon-friendly projects overseas. And we have become the first steel building envelope business to be certified to the BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing standard with a ‘very good’ rating for its entire Colorcoat® range.

Transport

Travelling is an essential part of modern life. Our society still depends on the car and search is on to make this form of transport greener and cleaner. Steel is helping here, too.

By making lighter, stronger steels, such as Advanced High Strength steels we are helping to make vehicles lighter and use less fuel. We have been heavily involved in the worldwide Future Steel Vehicle project run by the United Nations Environment programme. Already the body structure mass of a battery electric vehicle has been cut by 35 per cent.

We are providing over three-quarters of the steel, including all the high strength low alloy galvanised parts, for the forthcoming Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, which will go into production in the UK from February 2013.

Packaging steel

Used to package food, steel packaging reduces greenhouse gas emissions over the entire life cycle, particularly when compared to freezing, and the long shelf life of canned food reduces waste.

We are working to develop lighter steel packaging solutions that reduce the carbon footprint by using less raw material and energy to produce and transport. The average 425ml food can is now 35 per cent lighter than 20 years ago.

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