IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Diffusion of energy efficient technologies in the German steel industry and their impact on energy consumption


  • Arens, M.
  • Worrell, E.


We try to understand the role of technological change and diffusion of energy efficient technologies in order to explain the trend of energy intensity developments in the German steel industry. We selected six key energy efficient technologies and collected data to derive their diffusion since their introduction in Germany. Since all technologies have been applied in Germany for more than 30 years we would expect complete diffusion. We found complete diffusion only for basic oxygen furnaces and continuous casting. Newer technologies (i.e. basic oxygen furnace gas recovery, top pressure recovery turbine, coke dry quenching and pulverized coal injection) diffused quicker in the initial phase but then diffusion slowed down. Key improvements in energy efficiency are due to electric arc furnaces (24%), basic oxygen furnaces (12%), and continuous casting (6%) between 1958 and 2012. The contribution of top pressure recovery turbines, pulverized coal injection and basic oxygen furnaces gas recovery accounts in total of about 3%. If the selected technologies were diffused completely, the future energy consumption could be reduced by 4.5% compared to 2012. Our findings suggest that our selection of six technologies is the key driver for energy intensity developments within the German steel industry between 1958 and 2012.

Suggested Citation

  • Arens, M. & Worrell, E., 2014. "Diffusion of energy efficient technologies in the German steel industry and their impact on energy consumption," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 968-977.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:73:y:2014:i:c:p:968-977
    DOI: 10.1016/

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kirschen, Marcus & Risonarta, Victor & Pfeifer, Herbert, 2009. "Energy efficiency and the influence of gas burners to the energy related carbon dioxide emissions of electric arc furnaces in steel industry," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1065-1072.
    2. Worrell, Ernst & Laitner, John A & Ruth, Michael & Finman, Hodayah, 2003. "Productivity benefits of industrial energy efficiency measures," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 1081-1098.
    3. Arens, Marlene & Worrell, Ernst & Schleich, Joachim, 2012. "Energy intensity development of the German iron and steel industry between 1991 and 2007," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 786-797.
    4. Oda, Junichiro & Akimoto, Keigo & Sano, Fuminori & Tomoda, Toshimasa, 2007. "Diffusion of energy efficient technologies and CO2 emission reductions in iron and steel sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 868-888, July.
    5. Sharon Oster, 1982. "The Diffusion of Innovation among Steel Firms: The Basic Oxygen Furnace," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 45-56, Spring.
    6. Guo, Z.C. & Fu, Z.X., 2010. "Current situation of energy consumption and measures taken for energy saving in the iron and steel industry in China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 4356-4360.
    7. Ray, George F., 1989. "Full circle: The diffusion of technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-18, February.
    8. Worrell, Ernst & Biermans, Gijs, 2005. "Move over! Stock turnover, retrofit and industrial energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 949-962, May.
    9. Okazaki, Teruo & Yamaguchi, Mitsutsune, 2011. "Accelerating the transfer and diffusion of energy saving technologies steel sector experience--Lessons learned," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1296-1304, March.
    10. Huo, Hong & Lei, Yu & Zhang, Qiang & Zhao, Lijian & He, Kebin, 2012. "China's coke industry: Recent policies, technology shift, and implication for energy and the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 397-404.
    11. Rosegger, Gerhard, 1980. "Comparing a new technology with its predecessor--Steel making," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 8(5), pages 533-543.
    12. Zhang, Jianling & Wang, Guoshun, 2008. "Energy saving technologies and productive efficiency in the Chinese iron and steel sector," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 525-537.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:energy:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:52-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Sucic, Boris & Al-Mansour, Fouad & Pusnik, Matevz & Vuk, Tomaz, 2016. "Context sensitive production planning and energy management approach in energy intensive industries," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 63-73.
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:137:y:2017:i:c:p:1107-1118 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Zhang, Qi & Zhao, Xiaoyu & Lu, Hongyou & Ni, Tuanjie & Li, Yu, 2017. "Waste energy recovery and energy efficiency improvement in China’s iron and steel industry," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 502-520.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:73:y:2014:i:c:p:968-977. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.