Working with sustainable energy developer Pure Energie, Tata Steel will mount 80,000 solar panels on the factory roofs at its IJmuiden steelworks – an area equivalent to 40 football pitches.

The solar project will have a 22MW capacity and generate the same amount of energy needed to power about 7,000 homes.

Hans Fischer, the chief technical officer of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “This project will further minimise our carbon footprint. Since 1990 we have reduced the amount of energy needed to produce steel by more than 30% at our IJmuiden site, which is already one of the world’s most energy-efficient steel plants.”

The energy generated by the panels will be used in steel manufacturing processes. The two-year installation of the panels will start in the spring of 2016 and cover a total of 25 hectares.

Green ambition

Sister business Tata Power Solar is reportedly ‘in discussions’ to supply the solar panels, while Pure Energie will fund the project.

Alfons Wispels, a director at Pure Energie, said: “We are delighted to be working with Tata Steel to help them achieve their sustainability ambitions.”

“Tata Steel engineers are continuously developing innovative processes to streamline production and we are developing advanced steel products for customers to help them create a more sustainable society.”

In related news, Tata Steel is working on a new technology which has the potential to make iron with lower energy use and CO2 emissions.

A pilot of the technology, known as Hlsarna, is scheduled for the latter half of 2016 at Tata Steel’s IJmuiden site.

A recent report, from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden claimed that the best way to decarbonise steel production is carbon capture and storage, with the potential for 60-75% emission reductions.

Brad Allen

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