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Energy Efficiency in the Japanese
Steel Industry – 25 February 2008

February 25, 2008

1. Steelmaking consumes a massive amount of energy. This energy is needed for operations extending from sintering and treating raw materials used for making pellets and coke, steelmaking processes (pig iron/rolling) and the generation of electricity, which is an associated process. At the same time, there are many opportunities to use energy efficiently and to conserve energy. One example is using byproduct gases and exhaust heat produced during coke production to generate electricity.

IEA prepared a thesis (source: Tracking Industrial Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions, IEA 2007) concerning ways to monitor energy efficiency in the steel industry. This document created much interest regarding the use of statistics, particularly concerning the statement that “energy consumption per unit of steel produced, which is energy efficiency, is based on different parameters depending on the particular country and statistics.” Consequently, there is a need to establish a unified set of definitions to facilitate international comparisons.

<<In the IEA statistics, coke ovens, blast furnaces and other energy uses in the iron and steel industry are reported separately. Yet, analysis reveals that this data submitted from national sources need to be improved. For example, in some cases energy used to produce iron and steel is allocated and reported in the “other industry” category, which results in an under-estimation; or the use of energy by-products for power generation is improperly allocated to the iron and steel sector.>>

2. During the steelmaking process, energy is consumed for steel production while simultaneously being converted for other uses (coke production, recovery of byproduct gases, recovery of exhaust heat, electricity generation, etc.). As a result, a unified evaluation covering both energy consumption and conversion is needed in order to accurately determine energy efficiency in the steel industry. Furthermore, international evaluations require the use of precisely the same scope, coefficients and other conditions. If steel industry energy efficiency were evaluated without taking into account these rules for calculating statistics, the resulting statistics would lead to a conclusion based on results that are completely different from the actual situation.

Energy efficiency is the most fundamental item for determining each country’s ability to conserve energy and examining measures to reduce greenhouse gases. Of course, energy efficiency is an important goal, too. Based on this realization, the Japanese steel industry’s APP and IISI have been working very hard to establish “International Energy Efficiency Comparisons Using Unified Global Definitions” that can be used by steelmakers worldwide.

3. Japan’s steelmakers are already widely recognized by many multinational organizations as the world’s most energy efficient. Japan ranked first in the “Asia Pacific Partnership (APP) Concerning Clean Development and Climate,” an organization made up of public and private-sector individuals from seven countries, including the U.S., China, India and Japan. Japan also received high marks from the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI), which brings together the world’s major steelmakers from the U.K., Germany, France and many other countries. Moreover, Japan’s leadership in energy efficiency is backed up by quantitative data in a thesis by the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE).

In addition, the Japanese steel industry has not only been disclosing environmental and energy conservation technologies, but is also working in many ways to share these technologies with other countries. Japanese steelmakers send specialists to overseas steel mills, perform environmental and energy assessments, and conduct other activities. Currently, there are many requests from China and India for the advanced technologies used by the Japanese steel industry. Chinese and Indian companies are very interested in Japan’s environmental and energy conservation technologies, associated data, and energy conservation equipment.

4. As the July 2008 G8 summit in Japan approaches, this is an extremely important period with regard to establishing a post-Kyoto framework for greenhouse gas countermeasures. As the chair of this summit, Japan must determine whether or not the nations of the world can create truly effective measures to reduce greenhouse gases.

At the recent Davos conference, Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda proposed the establishment of a number of numerical targets based on energy efficiency comparisons in specific industries. Establishing these targets will require accurate evaluations of the energy efficiency of each country. Therefore, creating a system based on a single worldwide viewpoint that will allow all countries to cooperate is our most basic and important task.


Consequently, we are submitting our basic stance about “Energy Efficiency in the Japanese Steel Industry” in the following section for the purpose of giving you a better understanding of this subject. We hope that you find this information useful.

If you have any questions or requests, please contact us. We will be pleased to provide additional information and other responses.


Energy Efficiency in the Japanese Steel Industry (PDF)


For more information about this subject:

    The Japan Iron and Steel Federation

Secretariat Affairs & and Public Relations Group

General Administration Division

Tel: 03-3669-4822  Fax: 03-3664-1457

Technology, Environment & Energy Group

Technology, Environment & Energy Division

Tel: 03-3669-4824  Fax: 03-3669-0228

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