Japanese steelmaker JFE Steel aims to build a new large-scale electric arc furnace to replace the No.2 blast furnace at its Kurashiki plant by 2027 to cut CO2 emissions, its president has announced.

The steelmaker is considering building an EAF that can produce 2Mt of high-grade steel when the No.2 unit is due for refurbishment, JFE president Yoshihisa Kitano said. He added that the EAF would reduce CO2 emissions by 2.6Mt/yr from current levels emitted by the blast furnace.

"We are thinking of building one of the world's largest EAFs to produce high quality steel to be used for automotive steel sheets and electrical steel sheets," Kitano told reporters and analysts.

JFE plans to import low-carbon steel-making raw material, or reduced iron produced using natural gas and carbon capture storage (CCS), from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"By utilising low-carbon materials, we want to realise the world's first large-scale supply system for green high-grade steel that is comparable to the blast furnace method," he said.

JFE is also working to develop new and cleaner steelmaking methods at blast furnaces using hydrogen and methanation, but the use of EAF is a feasible and quick solution to reducing emissions during the transition period, Kitano said.