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Energy Intensity Development of the German Iron and Steel Industry between 1991 and 2007


Author Info

  • Marlene Arens

    (ISI - Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research - Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research)

  • Ernst Worrell

    (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development - Utrecht University)

  • Joachim Schleich

    (MTS - Management Technologique et Strategique - Grenoble École de Management (GEM), Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research - Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research)


The iron and steel sector is the largest industrial CO2 emitter and energy consumer in the world. Energy efficiency is key to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions. To understand future developments of energy use in the steel sector, it is worthwhile to analyze energy efficiency developments over the past two decades. This paper analyses the development of the specific energy consumption (SEC) (measured as primary energy use per unit of product) in the German steel sector between 1991 and 2007. We found that the total SEC declined by 0.4%/year. Of this 75%, or 0.3%/year, is due to a structural change towards more electric arc furnaces (EAF). Energy efficiency improvement accounts for about 25% of the observed change in SEC, or 0.1%/year. Energy efficiency improvements are found, especially in rolling (1.4%/year). The net SEC of blast furnaces decreased due to increased top gas recovery by 0.2%/year per tonne iron. Improvements in other processes were very limited or non-existent. In basic oxygen furnaces (BOF) net SEC increased due to a 60% decrease in BOF gas recovery between 1993 and 2007. In EAF and sinter plants the SEC remained constant or, respectively, even increased by 9% between 1991 and 2007 per tonne sinter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) with number hal-00805730.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Publication status: Published, Energy Policy, 2012, 786-797, 1, 786-797
Handle: RePEc:hal:gemptp:hal-00805730

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Keywords: Energy efficiency; Steel industry; Energy intensity;

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  1. Katja Schumacher & Ronald D. Sands, 2006. "Where Are the Industrial Technologies in Energy-Economy Models?: An Innovative CGE Approach for Steel Production in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 605, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Lutz, Christian & Meyer, Bernd & Nathani, Carsten & Schleich, Joachim, 2005. "Endogenous technological change and emissions: the case of the German steel industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1143-1154, June.
  3. Farla, Jacco C. M. & Blok, Kornelis, 2001. "The quality of energy intensity indicators for international comparison in the iron and steel industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 523-543, June.
  4. Worrell, Ernst & Price, Lynn & Martin, Nathan & Farla, Jacco & Schaeffer, Roberto, 1997. "Energy intensity in the iron and steel industry: a comparison of physical and economic indicators," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(7-9), pages 727-744.
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Cited by:
  1. Brunke, Jean-Christian & Blesl, Markus, 2014. "A plant-specific bottom-up approach for assessing the cost-effective energy conservation potential and its ability to compensate rising energy-related costs in the German iron and steel industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 431-446.


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