Steelie Award for thyssenkrupp

Honored: Steel wins award for integration of life cycle assessments in the product development process.

One of the highlights of any World Steel Conference is the presentation of the Steelie Awards. The World Steel Association (worldsteel) bestows the awards every year for outstanding performance in the categories Innovation, Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Communications and Training. At its 50th annual conference, worldsteel presented Steel with a Steelie for the integration of LCAs in its product development process. The judges particularly praised thyssenkrupp’s systematic and integrated approach to including LCA analyses in all its product development processes.

Life cycle assessments show steel is sustainable

LCA analyses disclose a product’s environmental impact “from cradle to grave”. At thyssenkrupp they are used to systematically analyze the entire process from raw materials procurement to crude iron production to finished product. Part of this also includes measuring primary energy consumption and CO2 emissions during production and analyzing the use phase of a product through to recycling. Steel scores particularly highly here as it can be re-used with no loss of quality.

LCA analyses at product level reveal significant CO2 savings potential

Steel has drawn up life cycle assessments for various products. They show for example that eco-friendly production of five million tons of hot-dip galvanized flat-rolled steel per year can avoid CO2 emissions of at least 1.3 million tons compared with the global average. The development of new materials can also help significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. For example thyssenkrupp has developed the steel composite TriBond® in which different material properties can be combined in one product. It can be used to produce B-pillars for cars that are significantly lighter than B-pillars made from conventional hot-forming steels. Per vehicle, this adds up to additional savings on CO2 emissions of 90 kilograms. The LCA analyses clearly show that overall the biggest lever for reducing CO2 lies not in steel production but in the use of steel products. The worldsteel award is an incentive to continue along this path.