Journal of cleaner production vol:18 issue:8 pages:807-814
In addition to CO2 released by the combustion of fossil fuel and leading to climate change, large steelworks emit pollutants that have other environmental impacts. ArcelorMittal Gent, an integrated steelwork producing ca. 5 x 10(6) tons of steel per year, not only decreased its specific energy consumption and CO2-emissions, but also reduced the environmental impact of its other emissions. This is illustrated by means of the evolution of 6 partial eco-efficiency indicators for the impact categories acidification, photo-oxidant formation, human toxicity, freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity, eutrophication and water use. The partial eco-efficiency indicators are eco-intensities, defined as the environmental impact in the respective impact category, divided by the amount of liquid steel produced. In the period 1995 - 2005 these indicators decreased by 45, 4, 52, 9, 11 and 33% respectively, whereas the steel production increased by 17%. The net impact of discharges of wastewater is negligible for human toxicity and is negative (concentrations lower than in the canal water used) for freshwater aquatic toxicity and eutrophication. For acidification, human toxicity (only emissions to air) and water use, the decoupling between environmental impact and production was absolute; for photo-oxidant formation, freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity (only emissions to air) and eutrophication, it was relative. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.