Brazilian steel producer, Aço Verde do Brasil (AVB) has achieved carbon-neutral steel production, certified by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). The company has also invested in the development of a patented charcoal carbonization furnace, set to enter the testing phase later this year.

Located in Brazil’s northern Maranhão state, the company has relied on renewable power and has invested in circular use of raw materials, along with its hot metal production based on eucalyptus charcoal, replacing traditional coking coal. The company has 50,000 hectares of planted eucalyptus for sustainable charcoal and captive pig iron production.

For such a feat, AVB also adopted a series of actions and implemented several technologies such as renewable electricity from hydroelectric plants, reuse of its process gases (BOF and BF), to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, reuse of BF slag in its cement plant and reuse of BOF slag as BF and BOF raw materials.

In a statement answering the concerns of charcoal fuel and its effectiveness against decarbonisation, Ricardo Carvalho, AVB CEO, said:

“When we consider the CO2 mass balance of the forest system and calculate the quantities removed/captured by photosynthesis of the forest, during its growth, we understood that the quantities removed/captured are immensely greater than the emissions. It is estimated that 1 hectare of eucalyptus forests can capture about 37 mt of CO2 per year,”

Ricardo Carvalho, AVB CEO

The concept has been approved by the GHG Protocol and by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Commenting on the research and development of the new charcoal carbonization furnace,Ricardo Carvalho said,

“It is a pilot project but, if successful, it will be the technology used to produce 100% of AVB’s charcoal needs,” Ricardo said. With such a furnace, AVB will be able to further reduce CO2 emissions and the production costs of charcoal."

Ricardo Carvalho, AVB CEO

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