Chinese steelmaker HBIS aims to reach carbon emissions peak in 2022

(Reuters) - HBIS Group, China’s second-biggest steelmaker, said on Friday it aimed to bring its carbon emissions to a peak next year before cutting them under a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and keep Chinese President Xi Jinping’s climate pledges on track.

State-owned HBIS follows bigger rival China Baowu Steel Group in setting a 2050 carbon neutral goal. Baowu had said in January it aimed to achieve the feat after reaching peak emissions in 2023.

China, the world’s largest steel market and biggest polluter, has vowed to reach a peak in national in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral before 2060.

After bringing its own emissions to a peak in 2022, HBIS aims to cut them by more than 10% in 2025 and more than 30% from the peak in 2030 before becoming carbon neutral in 2050, according to a low-carbon development plan outlined in a company statement.

Based in China’s smog-prone top steelmaking province of Hebei, HBIS churned out 46.56 million tonnes of crude steel in 2019, according to the World Steel Association, which is chaired by HBIS Chairman Yu Yong. The company’s 2020 production data has not yet been released.

In China’s 2021-25 Five-Year Plan, HBIS said it would set up a hydrogen energy research and development centre to “lead the world’s low-carbon metallurgical revolution”, as mills look to use the gas to power steelmaking.

It will also build a 1.2 million tonnes per year direct -reduced iron (DRR) plant which will emit 40-60% less C02 compared to steel production in blast furnaces.

HBIS has to date invested 20.3 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) in more than 430 key energy conservation and environmental protection projects, the statement added.

($1 = 6.5070 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Tom Daly and Min Zhang; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise