Description: This study performs an integrated assessment of new technology adoption in the steel industry. New coke, iron, and steel production technologies are discussed, and their economic and environmental characteristics are compared. Based upon detailed plant level data on cost and physical input-output relations by process, this study develops a simple mathematical optimization model of steel process choice. This model is then expanded to a life cycle context, accounting for environmental emissions generated during the production and transportation of energy and material inputs into steelmaking. This life-cycle optimization model provides a basis for evaluating the environmental impacts of existing and new iron and steel technologies. Five different plant configurations are examined, from conventional integrated steel production to completely scrap-based operations. Two cost criteria are used to evaluate technology choice: private and social cost, with the latter including the environmental damages associated with emissions. While scrap-based technologies clearly generate lower emissions in mass terms, their emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are significantly higher. Using conventional damage cost estimates reported in the literature suggests that the social costs associated with scrap-based steel production are slightly higher than with integrated steel production. This suggests that adopting a life-cycle viewpoint can substantially affect environmental assessment of new technologies. Finally, this study also examines the impacts of carbon taxes on steel production costs and technology choice.
Date: March 26, 2001
Creator: Considine, Timothy J.; Jablonowski, Christopher; Considine, Donita M.M. & Rao, Prasad G.
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department