Heavy industry has a critical role to play in the transition to a greener economy. How can steel suppliers contribute to the sector’s sustainability?
To find out, we spoke to Miquel Herreros, materials science engineer at SEBIR. During the interview, Herreros reveals how SEBIR has managed to integrate a commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment into the production of cold stampable steel.
SEBIR has a strong commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment. By setting targets such as reducing its CO2 emissions to adapt to climate change, how has it managed to integrate these values into the production of cold stampable steel?
The major change proposed by SEBIR is the transition to a phosphate-free technology without chemical treatment. By eliminating the chemical treatment plant, which consumes energy in the factory and generates waste, it reduces CO2 emissions by 83.4 kg per ton produced.
Given the current context, what role does SEBIR see for heavy industry in the transition to a greener and more sustainable economy?
Heavy industry is the largest contributor to CO2 emissions and energy consumption, so its participation in the transition to a greener and more sustainable economy is crucial. Two interrelated factors are important in making this transition.
On the one hand, the use of renewable energies and the reduction of CO2 emissions. In Spain, 50% of energy is expected to come from renewable sources by 2030. In this respect, the role of the government is almost more important than that of industry.
On the other hand, heavy industry plays an important role in reducing CO2 by implementing clean technologies, efficient processes and renewable energies. In addition, promoting the circular economy and working with sustainable government policies will help reduce its carbon footprint.
SEBIR has developed new lubrication techniques, including the introduction of TSF© (phosphate-free drawing) wires. What has been the impact of these innovations in terms of in-service performance and minimising environmental impact? How does SEBIR TSF© technology contribute to the reduction of the company’s carbon footprint?
SEBIR recently obtained ISO 14064 certification. What were the challenges and benefits of this certification process?
The main challenge during the certification process was the technical complexity of accurately measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Often we could not find data specific to our process in conventional databases and had to consult the literature to obtain reliable data. At the same time, preparing our organisation to collect relevant and accurate data was another major challenge.
The benefits are more intangible, but we are actively experiencing them in the marketplace as the year progresses. Customers are increasingly interested in the carbon footprint management of their suppliers, and being an industry pioneer in this area is enhancing our reputation. We are now recognised not only for the quality of our products and technical support, but also as an environmentally responsible supplier.
SEBIR collaborates with prestigious Spanish universities and technology centres. How have these collaborations contributed to its technical and ecological innovations, and what are the company’s plans for future collaboration?
SEBIR has historically collaborated with most of the Catalan technology centres and universities. It is currently in close contact with the Department of Materials Science and Physical Chemistry at the University of Barcelona (UB). There is an ongoing project to improve the surfaces of TSFs. And in the future, there is a project with a member of the technical department who will be doing a Masters in Renewable Energy and Sustainability at the UB.