Autodesk boss urges contractors to keep up with new tech

Autodesk boss urges contractors to keep up with new tech

A New Civil Engineer’s Innovative Thinker informs that Autodesk boss urges contractors to keep up with new tech.  Let us see.

The image above is of Autodesk Blog

 


Innovative Thinker | Autodesk boss urges contractors to keep up with new tech

Contractors must keep up with technological advances to drive the industry forward, says Autodesk senior vice chairman Jim Lynch.

Globally, the built environment footprint is expected to double in size by 2060. For that to happen in line with net zero targets, technology is going to be critical to improving the way construction is carried out.

Innovative Thinker | Autodesk boss urges contractors to keep up with new tech

Jim Lynch, Vice President & General Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions.

Autodesk senior vice chairman Jim Lynch puts it simply: “The industry has to find a better way to build and digital is going to play – and is already playing – a huge role in that.”

For technology to advance our construction techniques, digital literacy is going to be required in all practices and, ideally, through all phases of construction.

“The bare minimum is that contractors use digital technology on the job site for collaboration,” says Lynch.

“Ideally, they should use digital technology during the pre-construction process. Moving on from there they should use it to drive operations and maintenance, then take that project information from design out to a digital twin, where they can use that technology to provide management capabilities for the owner.”

To make this a reality, technology must be easy to deploy and adopt, according to Lynch. “If using and deploying technology is going to need weeks of training where you’re taking workers off the job, that’s not going to work,” he explains.

However, Lynch believes the onus is on contractors to invest more in improving their digital literacy if they are falling behind.

“You have to build up that digital muscle,” he says. “And I think, by and large, contractors really do understand that they have to take those first steps around collaboration, then extend those steps into using more digital during the planning process and then continue on from there.”

He believes that today’s contractors are embracing technology faster than ever, not only because of the competition, but also because of the expectations of clients and the government. He points to the UK’s Building Safety Act, which became law in April 2022, as a driver.

“That is really all about data; it is ensuring that owners, contractors and designers all play a role in making sure that digital information is created, captured and stored throughout the entire process.”

Lynch believes a big challenge is going to be attracting the workforce to build all the future projects – but that digital could play a part in drawing people in. “I think the use of digital technologies to drive better outcomes in construction will be intriguing to the younger generation,” he says.

“How to apply technology to the construction process, especially when you think about augmented reality and virtual reality applications, will drive a greater interest in the workforce.”

He adds that the industry has made great progress in its use of technology in recent decades. “But I think we’ve only scratched the surface,” he says. “I think the best is really yet to come.”

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Built to disappear: World Cup stadium 974

Built to disappear: World Cup stadium 974

World Cup stadium 974 is one of the seven stadiums Qatar built for the World Cup, that is meant to disappear after the tournament.

The image above is A partial view of the Stadium 974 prior to the start of the World Cup group G soccer match between Serbia and Switzerland, in Doha, Qatar, Qatar, Friday Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

 



Built to disappear: World Cup stadium 974

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Of the seven stadiums Qatar built for the World Cup, one will disappear after the tournament.

That’s what the games’ organizers have said about Stadium 974 in Doha — a port-side structure with more than 40,000 seats partially built from recycled shipping containers and steel.

Qatar says the stadium will be fully dismantled after the World Cup and could be shipped to countries that need the infrastructure. Outside experts have praised the design, but say more needs to be known about what happens to the stadium after the event.

“Designing for disassembly is one of the main principles of sustainable building,” said Karim Elgendy, an associate fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank who previously worked as a climate consultant for the World Cup.

“It allows for the natural restoration of a building site or its reuse for another function,” he said, adding that a number of factors need to considered “before we call a building sustainable.”

Buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. Of that, about 10% comes from “embodied” carbon or the greenhouse gas emissions related to the construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings.

Qatar has faced international criticism for its treatment of low-paid migrant workers who built over $200 billion worth of stadiums, metro lines and other infrastructure for the World Cup. Qatar says the criticism ignores labor reforms enacted in recent years.

Stadium 974, named after Qatar’s international dialing code and the number of containers used to build the stadium, is the only venue that Qatar constructed for the World Cup that isn’t air-conditioned. During a match Friday in which Switzerland defeated Serbia, the air was noticeably more humid and hot than in other venues.

The stadium is hosting only evening matches, when temperatures are cooler.

Fenwick Iribarren Architects, which designed Stadium 974 and two other World Cup stadiums, says the idea was to avoid building a “white elephant,” a stadium that is left unused or underused after the tournament ends, as happened following previous World Cups in South Africa, Brazil and Russia.

Qatar says it has developed plans for the other six stadiums after the games are over. Many will have a number of seats removed.

Qatar has not detailed where the dismounted stadium will go after the tournament or even when it will be taken down. Organizers have said the stadium could be repurposed to build a venue of the same size elsewhere or multiple smaller stadiums.

Where its components go matters because of the emissions implicated by shipping them thousands of kilometers away.

Carbon Market Watch, an environmental watchdog group that investigated Qatar’s World Cup sustainability plans, said whether Stadium 974 has a lower carbon footprint than a permanent one comes down to “how many times, and how far, the stadium is transported and reassembled.”

FIFA and Qatar acknowledge that in a report estimating the stadium’s emissions. If the stadium is reused only once, they estimate its emissions would be lower than a permanent one as long as it is shipped fewer than 7,000 kilometers (about 4,350 miles) away.

If it’s repurposed more than once, it could be shipped farther and still be less polluting than a permanent venue, they said, because of how energy-intensive building multiple new stadiums is.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizing committee for the World Cup, did not respond to a request for more information about plans after the tournament.

The report also didn’t factor in operational emissions — or those produced from running a building — once the stadium is repurposed because standards vary in different countries, FIFA and Qatar said.

“The energy required for dismantling and shipping the building components will obviously need to be estimated,” Elgendy said, “but it is unlikely to outweigh the carbon embodied in the building materials.”

For now, the stadium’s design isn’t lost on spectators. On any game night, fans entering and leaving the stadium take selfies against its modern, industrial facade. The temporary stadium is hosting seven games in total — with the final one on Monday between Brazil and South Korea.

Jhonarel Miñoza, a 42-year-old Qatari resident originally from the Philippines, said she and her sister wanted to see a game in each of the seven stadiums.

Miñoza, an administrative officer who has lived in Qatar for five years, said she had heard about Stadium 974′s unconventional design before the game she attended on Friday.

“I was really eager to know how they built it,” Miñoza said. “When I came inside here, I was just checking how they did that.”

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sport

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Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation to be generalised throughout the Middle East and North African regions of heavy urbanisation.  

The above image is of Place Pasteur, Beirut

 


French-Lebanese architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

AFP
Lina Ghotmeh has pegged her career on sustainable construction.

The French-Lebanese architect wants to see her industry transformed by drastically reducing the use of concrete — a major CO2 contributor — using more local materials and reusing existing buildings and materials.

“We need to change our value system,” the 42-year-old told AFP last month.

Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

Lina Ghotmeh wants to reduce the use of concrete in building / © AFP

The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry and create buildings that can better resist the impacts of climate change.

But it’s not an easy battle.

The industry accounts for almost 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.

Ghotmeh, who designed the Estonian National Museum and taught at Yale University, doesn’t advocate for fewer buildings — she knows that’s an unrealistic goal in a world with a growing population.

“That would be like saying ‘stop eating,'” she said.

– ‘Don’t demolish’ –

Instead, we should “keep what already exists, don’t demolish,” but refurbish and retrofit old buildings in a sustainable way where possible.

Building a new detached house consumes 40 times more resources than renovating an existing property, and for a new apartment complex that rises to 80 times more, according to the French Agency for Ecological Transition (Ademe).

Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

RTL

Lina Ghotmeh’s ‘Stone Garden’ in Beirut uses traditional building techniques / © AFP/File

And where new constructions are needed, local materials and design should be used in a way that incorporates natural surroundings and saves energy.

Ghotmeh used more than 500,000 bricks made from local dirt for a new Hermes building in France, expected to open early next year.

The bricks also regulate the building’s temperature and reduce energy needs.

The building will produce as much energy as it consumes, by being made energy efficient and using geothermal power.

– ‘Circular thinking’ –

Architects must, early in the project process, “think in a circular way,” Ghotmeh said, choosing reusable organic or natural materials like wood, hemp, linen or stone.

This shouldn’t stymie the design process either, she insists.

“In Canada, we build wooden towers, in Japan too. It’s a material that is quite capable of being used for tall buildings,” added Ghotmeh, who will build a wooden tower in Paris in 2023.

Another key approach is to build lighter, using less material and fewer toxins.

Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

RTL

Transforming the concrete jungle / © AFP

And then there’s concrete, the main material in so many modern buildings and perhaps the most challenging to move away from.

“We must drastically reduce the use of concrete”, she said, insisting it should only be used for essential purposes, such as foundations and building in earthquake-prone areas.

Some 14 billion cubic metres of concrete are used every year, according to the Global Cement and Concrete Association.

It emits more CO2 than the aviation industry, largely because of the intense heat required to make it.

Alternatives to concrete already exist, such as stone, or making cement — a component of concrete — from calcium carbonate. There are also pushes for low-carbon cement made from iron and steel industry waste.

– Beirut inspiration –

Building more sustainably often comes with a higher price tag — it costs more to double or triple glaze windows and properly insulate a house — but the long-term payoff is lower energy costs.

For Ghotmeh, it’s an imperative investment in our future.

It was her birthplace of Beirut that inspired her to become an architect, spurring a desire to rebuild the so-called “collapsed city” ravaged by war.

Architect seeks pro-climate construction transformation

RTL

The wall of Ghotmeh’s ‘Stone Garden’ / © AFP/File

In 2020, she completed the “Stone Garden” apartment tower in the city, built with concrete covered with a combed coating, a technique often used by local craftsmen. She used concrete in the construction because of earthquake risks.

The building was strong enough to survive the port explosion in 2020 that destroyed a large part of the city.

And the city continues to inspire her today, even when it comes to climate sustainability.

“Since there is practically only an hour of electricity per day, all the buildings have solar panels now. There is a kind of energy independence which is beginning to take place, by force,” she said.

“Does it take a catastrophe like the one in Lebanon to make this transition?”

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Building better with less: how we can decarbonize . . .

Building better with less: how we can decarbonize . . .

When we see cranes in the sky and new buildings coming up, we think about growth and prosperity, new homes for people to live in, schools and hospitals for citizens’ basic needs, and places for leisure and community bonding. But constructing these buildings is responsible for 30 percent of the built environment’s overall emissions. With the world building the equivalent of one New York city every month to accommodate the growing population, we need all hands on deck to decarbonize one of the hardest-to-abate sectors.

The good news is that green building is possible today. Traditional concrete doesn’t have the best reputation environmentally — and rightly so — but green concrete is a game changer. Concrete is the world’s most-popular building material and innovating to make it low-carbon is already helping build greener cities. Some types of green concrete get there through the extensive use of alternative materials and fuels. Some get there by incorporating construction and demolition waste. Today, we encourage customers all over the world to opt for our concrete and cement with up to 90 percent fewer CO2 emissions and no compromise on performance. Building better with less is now a reality, not just a pipedream.

Concrete is the world’s most-popular building material and innovating to make it low-carbon is already helping build greener cities.

Using smart design can also help build better with less. For example, 3D concrete printing can reduce material use by up to 80 percent, thus reducing its carbon footprint with no compromise on performance. We’ve deployed 3D concrete printing solutions in Africa to build affordable, quality housing and schools. At home in Switzerland, we’re partnering with the Block Research Group and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to create innovative solutions such as a new lightweight floor system that reduces material use by 50 percent and embodied CO2 by up to 80 percent.

With concrete being infinitely recyclable, we can have truly circular cities by using construction and demolition to build new from old without taking any more precious virgin resources from our planet. In Zurich, for example, it’s not an option, it’s a must. The Swiss city requires recycled concrete to be used in the construction of public buildings (the concrete needs to contain at least 25 percent recycled demolition waste in order to be classified as recycled). Earlier this year we achieved a circularity breakthrough at our cement plant in Altkirch, France: we produced the world’s first clinker, the main component of cement that undergoes the carbon-intensive calcination process, made entirely of recycled minerals — and we’re already scaling it to our other plants in Europe. But we’re not stopping there because next, in the very near future, we will produce 100 percent recycled cement and then 100 percent recycled concrete with the final objective of constructing the world’s first building with 100 percent recycled materials. Imagine if every new building was made from 50 percent of an old one. That means 50 percent fewer materials drawn from nature and less CO2 emissions. We already have the solutions to make this a reality.

We will produce 100 percent recycled cement and then 100 percent recycled concrete with the final objective of constructing the world’s first building with 100 percent recycled materials.

Finally, as energy security and energy poverty become a more pressing issue than ever before, concrete is one of the most versatile materials used in buildings for temperature regulation because it absorbs, stores and releases energy efficiently — something called thermal concrete activation. We’re already seeing ‘cool schools’ popping up in Austria leveraging this simple yet highly-effective technology: the Lieselotte Hansen-Schmidt educational campus in Seestadt is carbon-free thanks to a combination of concrete core activation, heat pumps, geothermal probes and solar energy. If we start using green concrete for these ‘batteries’, we’ll have a real win-win and no one will ever have to choose between eat or heat.

Many regions already require buildings to deliver sustainable outcomes through regulation and incentives. And although zero-carbon buildings must undoubtedly become the standard in the future, we should not wait for ‘zero’ because all practical steps available today should be used to drastically reduce the whole-life carbon footprint of buildings. Smart design methods, low-carbon materials, and energy-efficient systems are practical methods available to the market today and align with pathways such as the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings framework, which requires halving emissions by 2030.

To get there, it’s essential to ensure that we have an effective, fair and reliable carbon-pricing mechanism that establishes a level playing field on carbon costs between domestic manufacturers and imports. This forms the central pillar of the low-carbon business case and is fundamental to our ability to invest on a large scale in the deployment of low-carbon technologies and products.

To create and accelerate demand for such products and technologies will require a regulatory environment and building standards/codes that incentivize greater and faster market uptake of low-carbon products by integrating sustainability performance into building codes, public procurement and product standards, alongside traditional criteria such as safety, performance, durability and affordability.

Additionally, no single solution will be perfectly scalable everywhere due to geographic, technological and legislative conditions. This means we need a flexible yet unequivocal regulatory framework that recognizes all carbon-capture technologies in carbon accounting and verification mechanisms as carbon mitigation avenues for hard-to-abate sectors.

A massive shift to sustainable construction could be accelerated by adapting standards, green procurement and building codes.

The paradigm shift to sustainable construction has not yet fully happened, although we are seeing tremendous activity in individual cases among designers as well as certain contractors and owners. A massive shift to sustainable construction could be accelerated by adapting standards, green procurement and building codes, and we are optimistic about that. Given the complexity of this shift, no single organization can get there alone. We all have a role to play. Public authorities can evolve building norms and regulations to make material recycling mandatory. Building owners and infrastructure developers can put their procurement to work to specify more recycled materials. Companies can innovate to develop new technologies, from recycling to digital material management. It’s up to all of us to empower circular, decarbonized cities.

Decarbonising hard-to-abate materials in the MENA region

Decarbonising hard-to-abate materials in the MENA region

Power Technology elaborates on how decarbonising hard-to-abate materials in the MENA region and beyond is not only a material problem but a lot more…

A material problem: decarbonising hard-to-abate materials in the MENA region and beyond

Lowering emissions is the first step in the energy transition, but reducing CO2 alone is not enough to achieve carbon neutrality, says Professor Emmanouil Kakaras of NEXT Energy Business at MHI and Dr Alexander Fleischanderl of Primetals Technologies.

As companies and governments across the world set their course on the path to net zero, the question of what to do about those hard-to-abate industries – namely heavy industry – often threatens to become a stumbling block on that pathway. For some, these big polluters – producing 30% of the world’s carbon emissions – sit uncomfortably within the narrative of transition to net zero. For others, their decarbonisation represents an opportunity.

According to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, carbon avoidance is a crucial step in the transition, replacing the use of fossil fuels with energy from renewable or other low-carbon sources. But reducing CO2 emissions alone is not enough to achieve carbon neutrality. There will remain some intractable emissions that can neither be reduced any further or absorbed naturally – and these will have to be dealt with by carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).

A test case is the MENA region, home not just to many of the world’s biggest oil and gas producers, but also a number of its hard-to-abate materials manufacturers, the latter relying heavily on the former. This year, the region is host to the COP27 climate conference, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, but for many it still lags behind other regions in terms of policies that support the transition to green energy.

Key challenges

“The key challenge to decarbonising this hard-to-abate sector, particular to this region, is the lack of a consistent and well-thought-out, detailed plan for what will happen to the CO2,” says Professor Dr Emmanouil Kakaras, executive vice president, NEXT Energy Business at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries EMEA.

“As I have said on many occasions, decarbonising the hard-to-abate sectors is not a technological problem: we have in our portfolio the key technology to achieve that. However, because of the magnitude of the amount of CO2 emissions we are dealing with – maybe if we count everything in the region we are talking at least 100 million tonnes per year to be managed and permanently stored and so on – we need to have a coherent strategy to deal with [that]. And that has prerequisites, both for regulation and the infrastructure creation.”

Dr Alexander Fleischanderl, Head of Green Steel at Primetals Technologies, a joint venture of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and partners, agrees on the need for more policy action. Talking specifically about the development of green steel markets in the region, he says: “What it requires in the MENA region to set the right playing field to be competitive, and especially to accelerate renewable energy production, [is] more political support from the governments. So if we compare it to Europe or the US, where there’s been strong support from the government, like in Europe with the Emissions Trading System or the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, or the US with the 45Q programme [of tax credits for carbon sequestration], or now the Inflation Reduction Act, I believe strongly that the MENA region, especially the Middle East, should set up a similar taxonomy to accelerate the transition.”

But despite these supporting mechanisms, the energy crisis Europe is currently experiencing means it is unlikely to be able to offer green metallics at competitive prices on a global level, says Fleischanderl. “So going back again to MENA, the price of renewables will be on a very different level compared to Europe, at least over the next decade,” he says.

“In the MENA region today, green hydrogen can already be produced at a price level of $3 to $4 per kilogram, compared with the European price level, which is for sure above $7 or $8. It’s simply a great opportunity for the MENA region to invest and expand quickly into renewable energy, green hydrogen, and also in green metallics as soon as possible.”

Investment in renewables to replace the fossil fuels used in materials production is a key step towards the decarbonisation of these sectors. But they are, says Kakaras, energy-intensive sectors which, by definition, are difficult to abate. The energy requirements are massive, and will demand the realisation of the region’s huge untapped potential in renewables development.

Green hydrogen in the spotlight

“Green hydrogen – low-carbon hydrogen – is the most significant pathway to decarbonise the hard-to-abate industries,” says Fleischanderl. “If we talk about the steel sector, there are not many opportunities to leave carbon and fossil fuels behind. One pathway is replacing the fossil fuels with green hydrogen.

“The second one is electrification of the processes to run on electric power, and the third one is carbon capture, storage and utilisation. Everyone now is really hunting for the first option, replacing the fossil fuels with green hydrogen. So, what is still missing to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sector is the massive amount of green hydrogen that is required for that journey.”

This will require similarly large amounts of investment. Kakaras points to a couple of recent initiatives in Europe: the IPCEI Hy2Use project, only just approved by the European Commission, will provide up to €5.2bn in public funding to support the use of hydrogen in the industrial sector. This is expected to unlock an additional €7bn in private investment.

There is also the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), designed to avoid carbon leakage and to encourage partner countries to establish carbon pricing policies. This, says Kakaras, “in essence is a good idea, but it has to be implemented in a very transparent and objective way in order not to create any market distortion”.

European policymakers, he explains, need to “balance the effort to maintain some industrial activity in Europe and to maintain the competitiveness of such production [with] on the other hand measurable carbon reductions where it makes sense.” And striking this balance is not easy.

When it comes to nudging producers in the right direction, he prefers a carrot rather than a stick method. “I generally would like to see from the policymakers more of an active investment promotion in green technologies to increase the yield of green, carbon-free products, rather than penalising existing businesses, which will not bring the transformation needed to achieve carbon neutrality.”

Visionary approaches

Bringing the focus back to MENA, Kakaras cites the partnership with Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) as evidence of MHI’s decarbonisation work in the region. Earlier this year, MHI and Alba announced a feasibility study looking at applying carbon capture technology on Alba’s operation – the world’s largest aluminium smelter outside of China. The group’s power solutions brand, Mitsubishi Power and other partners, were contracted to design, engineer, procure, construct and commission a 680.9 megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas turbine power block, which will be able to run on clean hydrogen in the future.

“This particular industry [aluminium] is electricity intensive and it features very high indirect and direct CO2 emissions,” Kakaras says. There are efforts to reduce the indirect carbon footprint through the use of high-efficiency combined cycle plants for power production, and post-combustion CO2 capture installation.

“What is more important, however – and it is really what we call hard to abate – is the direct emissions from the smelting process,” he continues, explaining that what makes it so difficult is that “the concentration of the CO2 in the flue gas from the smelter, what is at the end emitted into the atmosphere, is very low: something like 1%. And that’s the most, I would say, challenging exercise that we are jointly undertaking with Alba, where we, for the first time worldwide, are trying to capture CO2 at such a low concentration.”

He is confident that MHI and Alba can rise to the challenge, though, praising “the visionary approach” of Alba. “If we want to move to what we call green aluminium, we have to tackle the direct emissions. We are working together to develop customised technology based on scrubbing technology that could tackle this particular emission measure.”

But the region’s materials sector still has a long way to go in terms of applying CCUS technology, without which the transition to net zero won’t be possible, says Fleischanderl. “It’s forecasted for 2050 that one third of global steel production will be produced utilising coal. So the only way out for these assets is to apply CCS, or CCUS more particularly. And going back to the MENA region, there’s only one carbon-capturing plant in the steel sector today, and that’s with Emirates Steel, which has applied carbon capture on an industrial scale for one of its direct reduction plants [the Al Reyadah project in Abu Dhabi].”

The conversation has moved on from whether CCUS is necessary, or indeed possible, says Kakaras. “We cannot achieve decarbonisation without CCUS; that is now commonly accepted. Some 15 years ago, the issue of carbon capture was met with scepticism because, of course, it comes at an additional cost. Now, we have the technology and we can prove that with a foreseeable carbon pricing structure, we can deliver the technologies and practically capture CO2 at, I would say, a range that it is well below $100 per tonne.”

He adds that the region’s governments are launching initiatives for storing carbon not just offshore, as is the case in some parts of the world, but underground as well, “thus bringing the costs of CO2 capture and storage significantly down”.

Of course, climate change is a global issue, not a regional one, and both Kakaras and Fleischanderl acknowledge that greening the hard-to-abate materials sectors will require a global solution. Which has implications for the way in which energy is traded across the world.

“The trade of green energy will become the major game changer to the transition of the hard-to-abate industry,” says Fleischanderl. “It will likely be the transport of green ammonia that will support this transition in other regions of the world. So again, talking about Europe, Europe will strongly rely on the input of renewable energy, likely in the form of green ammonia or green hydrogen, for application to the hard-to-abate sector.

“The operational costs to produce green metallics are around 80% related to the energy cost, so it seems quite logical that there might be relocation of the upstream facilities in iron making to where the energy is cheap, and not transporting the iron ore into Europe any more but adding more value to this iron ore, producing direct reduced iron [DRI], HBI [hot briquetted iron], and shipping these metallics into Europe for further processing.”

The much-hailed but expensive ‘power-to-X’ solutions – converting surplus renewable electricity into heat, hydrogen or synthetic fuels – are also ripe for development, says Kakaras. “Especially in the [MENA] region, the challenge is to have carbon-free electricity which will be in such an oversupply, because of the geographical and conditions of population and so on, that will permit the so-called power-to-X technologies to be implemented in this region. In simple words, if power-to-X will not happen in this region, then where will it happen?”

The road to 2050

Are there any other questions over the future direction of travel? As regards the steel industry, Fleischanderl notes the ambition of national targets. “I would say first of all, the scene is set, so the transition is going to happen. And 90% of the global steel production nations have committed to carbon net zero by 2050 or 2060, so it’s going to happen.

“But what keeps me up at night, if we talk about the major roadblocks, is the fact that the amount of renewable energy and low-carbon hydrogen required for the steel sector is so massive that it’s not about any roadblock of technologies or new pathways; it’s simply that I’m wondering if the timeline to provide this massive amount of renewable energy and low-carbon hydrogen can meet the requirement of the net zero pledges by 2050.”

As the spotlight turns to MENA for COP27, the world will be looking for reassurances that these targets are indeed achievable, and that the region and its most hard-to-abate sectors are making progress towards them.

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