2022 Volume 62 Issue 12 Pages 2423
Innovative carbon utilization technologies and processes are in high demand. Through perpetual advancements in blast furnaces and other processes and more refined use of exhaust heat, the steelmaking industry has significantly reduced energy input or carbon fuel usage itself. On the other hand, as per the current status of CO2 emissions in Japan, the industrial sector accounts for nearly one-third of total emissions, with the steel industry accounting for over 40% of those emissions and about 13% of total domestic CO2 emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considered carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to be a cause of global warming and aimed to limit temperature increases to 2.0°C or less in 2014 and 1.5°C or less by 2018. In response to the IPCC, each nation has established aggressive CO2 reduction targets and plans to achieve them. This is the rationale for the Japanese government’s intended implementation of carbon neutrality by 2050. Although Japan’s steel industry and other manufacturing sectors have achieved world-leading energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions, nonetheless, CO2 emissions are inevitable as long as carbon is used as a fuel. What is required today to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 are not merely extensions of existing low-carbon technologies but rather innovative approaches to carbon utilization as much important as a massive investment in renewable energy infrastructure.
These concerns prompted the Iron and Steel Institute Japan, ISIJ to host “The First Symposium on Carbon Ultimate Utilization Technologies for the Global Environment (CUUTE-1)” in Nara, Japan, from December 14–17, 2021. The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) delayed the conference for about a year from its scheduled date in 2020. Despite significant challenges brought on by COVID-19’s devastating impact, the growing global momentum for drastic reductions in CO2 emissions and the dedication of the organizing committee led to a hybrid on-site/online international conference. The goal of this new conference was to seek paths for the ultimate utilization of carbon resources in the steelmaking industry and other manufacturing sectors while maintaining global environmental harmony. The topics included the utilization technology of carbon resources and materials in the iron and steel, chemical, and manufacturing industries, CO2 recovery, and CO2 utilization for carbon material synthesis. This comprehensive procedure also includes carbon energy system evaluation and life cycle assessment. There is a growing interest in this field, as evidenced by the 84 presentations (including six plenary talks and four keynote lectures) and 120 participants (including 18 from 8 foreign countries, including Europe, the U.S., China, and Korea).
The purpose of this special issue was to encourage more research and development in the field of enhanced carbon utilization technologies and processes for the steelmaking industry. Besides the general open call for papers, the best findings presented at CUUTE-1 were chosen for publication. Accordingly, this special issue features the latest research from the following fields:
1) Effective utilization of carbon resources of iron and steel.
2) Chemical and manufacturing industries.
3) Demonstrating the progress toward cutting-edge, low-carbon technologies and processes, such as the achievement of CO2 Ultimate Reduction System for Cool Earth 50 (COURSE 50) project.
4) CO2 recovery, utilization, recycling, carbon-neutral technology, and low-carbon system evaluation.
5) The most recent discoveries in various fields, including the novel concept of ironmaking and the recovery of waste heat from industries.
It gives me great pleasure to make this compilation available to researchers working in the field of ironmaking & steelmaking and carbon utilization worldwide. I hope that the present issue will prove useful to many researchers to stay abreast of recent advances and explore novel research avenues in advanced carbon utilization technologies and processes in steelworks. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all the authors for their contributions and to the entire editorial board for its assistance in publishing this special issue.