Global assessment of biomass suitability for ironmaking – opportunities for co-location of sustainable biomass, iron and steel production and supportive policies

Hana Mandova, William F. Gale, Alan Williams, Andrew L. Heyes, Peter Hodgson, Kamal H. Miah

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Iron and steel production processes are amongst the biggest industrial contributors to the global carbon emissions, and national as well as international obligations are set to drive their significant emission reductions. One of the possible strategies is to partially substitute fossil fuels used during the iron ore reduction process by sustainably-sourced biomass. The extent of the opportunities for such fuel switching, however, varies for each country. Theoretically, biomass into ironmaking should be only supported for countries which present co-location of sustainably domestically sourced biomass in sufficient quantity, a substantial iron and steel industry and supportive national policies. Using a multi-criteria global suitability assessment approach developed in this research, the status of countries' steel industry, sustainable biomass resources and supportive policies were examined for top 40 steel production countries via the blast furnace ironmaking route. The results highlight those countries with significant potential to use domestically sourced biomass for such application and advance the efficient use of the limited biomass resources from the global perspective. Specifically countries such as Canada, Sweden, China, USA and France were identified as the most suitable, but other countries present opportunities that could be overcome if the corresponding barriers are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalSustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments
Early online date20 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018



  • bioenergy suitability
  • biomass steelmaking
  • blast furnace ironmaking
  • industrial decarbonization
  • multi-criteria analysis

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