Iron and steel prove to be a key part of the global economy. However, this traditional method has major environmental impacts. It adds to worsen the issue of climate change.
Virtually all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with iron and steel production. Other emissions include air emissions, meaning that major pollution sources are from coke production. Water emissions also prove to be a major predicament, seeing as water is used to cool coke after baking. The water reused then is therefore contaminated.
The reason why coke is so widely used is that is easily accessible, and manipulated. Coke acts as both the reducing agent and the heat source thus making it more efficient and affordable. The waste that comes from the combustion of iron and steel is impurities that cannot reach landfills. Loss of landscape comes with mining, as well as the disposal of slag is left, which is something that also prevents being an environmental sub-issue.
When starting to ameliorate the dependency on iron and steel, also known as making iron and steel cleaner, is to first work towards getting rid of unwanted material before the ore is converted. Goals must include the saving of raw materials and energy but not having to extract iron in the first place. Mining is a dangerous occupation as it is, even if world powers hold a strong hold on this, and therefore the global market. Energy and pollution costs in collecting and transportation must also be alleviated if we are to successfully transition.
Iron produces a significant amount of excess, and so the unwanted, or not concentrated iron must find a way to be recycled into other objects, such as beams for certain infrastructure. And of course, there are the stated environmental factors, such as avoiding pollution issues in general. The cost of the reducing agent must also be lowered, meanwhile finding a more eco-friendly alternative. The desired concentration, or the purity of the metal, cannot be compromised while making changes to alleviate the aforementioned issues at hand.