But a new version of the steel industry — called “green steel” — could bring countless new jobs and completely revitalize the decaying rust belt, Grist reports.
Green steel refers to steel made with green hydrogen, a fuel source that uses clean energy such as wind or solar to generate power by separating the hydrogen and oxygen contained in water molecules. The process, unlike traditional steel production methods, doesn’t release carbon pollution.
At the moment, steel and iron manufacturing is considered one of the top producers of carbon pollution and one of the highest energy-consuming processes in the industrial field. Steel production accounts for around 7% of global air pollution, according to Canary Media, with each ton of steel produced creating over 1.83 tons of carbon pollution, per The World Counts.
What’s more, traditional steel manufacturing needs an absurd amount of power. According to The World Counts, it takes 20 gigajoules of energy to create just one ton of steel, which is enough to run the average central AC system nonstop for about 100 days.
The developments in green steel technology come as several Rust Belt states are struggling to employ their steelworkers. A study from the Ohio River Valley Institute found that, currently, regional steel-related jobs are expected to fall 30% by 2031. However, green steel could add between 27% and 43% more jobs — potentially more than making up for that loss.
It seems as though investment in green steel will continue as the industry falls deeply in line with the government’s new goals for reducing air pollution. By 2030, the government hopes to reduce air pollution by at least 50% when compared to 2005 levels, World Resources Institute reported.
In a statement released in April 2021, The White House explained the U.S.’s pollution goals, stating that: “Meeting [our] 2030 emissions target will create millions of good-paying, middle class, union jobs” and that the plan would “ensure economic competitiveness, advance environmental justice, and improve the health and security of communities across America.”
“This target prioritizes American workers,” the statement added.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.