Manufacturing News

Think tank calls for green manufacturing

An industry sector powered by renewable energy, and zero-carbon manufacturing could lead to coal-free steel.

This would lead to a jobs-rich, low-carbon economy, climate think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) said.

“Switching from fossil fuels to renewables is a no-brainer for industries wanting to boost competitiveness, provide long-term job security for workers, or grow their business and workforce by seizing new market opportunities in the green economy,” said Vanessa Petrie, CEO of BZE.

On October 28, federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, outlined his party’s vision for a “manufacturing boom”, partly driven by investment in the production of renewable energy, and the manufacturing jobs associated with the creation of devices and technology to harvest, solar and wind energy.

While the Labor leader mentioned a target of 50 per cent, with a date yet to be specified, BZE pushed towards a more ambitious target.

“The Federal government must support industry by providing the policy certainty, investment, and incentives needed to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity,” said Petrie.

To enable this to occur in industries that would be hard to decarbonise under existing processes, such as metals manufacturing, Petrie argued that policymakers should adopt alternatives such as the production of steel from hydrogen.

“We already have technology that lets us make steel using hydrogen instead of metallurgical coal, and countries like Austria and Sweden are developing pilot plants to make fossil-free steel at scale,” she said.

“But Australia has more iron ore than anywhere else in the world, and more than enough wind and sunshine to power our steelmaking and other industries.”

If investment in these areas, occurred, Australia could have greater opportunities to export manufactured products.

“Global demand for such products is growing as energy prices fall, countries look for solutions to reduce their emissions, and investors assess opportunities based on their sustainability requirements,” said Petrie.

“Increasing our climate ambition and investing in new, clean industries will benefit Australian workers, businesses, and communities. This is an opportunity we shouldn’t miss.”

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