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BHP has teamed up with South Korea’s POSCO to explore greenhouse gas emission reduction technologies in integrated steelmaking, such as the use of biomass in steel creation – a potential replacement for coking coal.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the two companies aim to undertake pilot and plant trials to reduce carbon in the steelmaking process.

They will look at ways to improve coke quality in the trials, while they will also assess carbon capture storage and utilisation (CCUS) options to lower carbon intensity in the blast furnace.

Research will go into hydrogen-based direct reduction technology and the use of biomass in steelmaking, while the partnership will also look to leverage BHP’s carbon-offsetting capabilities in the development of carbon-neutral steel products.

BHP has initially committed up to $US10 million ($13.5 million) over the next five years under the MoU, to be drawn from the company’s $US400 million ($540 million) Climate Investment Program.

As they conduct their trials, BHP and POSCO will also look to collaborate on the reporting of carbon emissions through the steel value chain, paving the way for more consistent, transparent and robust global standards in the future.

BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said its partnership with POSCO will break important new ground in the decarbonisation of steelmaking.

“The pathway to net zero for steelmaking is not yet clear but we believe that, by working with industry leaders like POSCO, together we will find solutions more quickly to help reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking and along the value chain,” Pant said.

“BHP recently announced a goal to pursue net zero scope 3 emissions by 2050 and we are committed to working with industry leaders in steelmaking to address this hard-to-abate sector.

“Steel is a critical product for the world to grow and decarbonise, and we must work hard together to enable greener steel, reducing carbon intensity in the blast furnace and testing new technologies for steel production.”