Our path to carbon neutrality

As a leading company in the cold rolling industry, we are embracing our responsibility to play an active role in shaping the transformation process toward a carbon-neutral future. The goal is decarbonization. On our path to carbon neutrality, we’re exploiting technical possibilities and using our innovative strength to make the transition period until we have a sufficient supply of green hydrogen and green power as low-carbon as possible.

From the current perspective, the complete carbon neutrality of an energy-intensive production process such as ours can only succeed if green hydrogen and green power are available in sufficient quantities. Even if a large-scale supply of hydrogen at our sites is not yet foreseeable, we’ve already taken extensive technical steps to prepare for a potential changeover. On one production line, for example, we’re already successfully using modern H2 burners in continuous operation and have configured them so that we can continue to manufacture our products at the same high level of quality that our customers have come to expect using hydrogen. Thanks to these investments, we’re already technologically capable of substituting hydrogen for natural gas in the production of our high-tech materials.

Due to the significant quantities of hydrogen we’ll need for our manufacturing processes, the only way to obtain a sufficient supply of green hydrogen is to be connected to a hydrogen pipeline infrastructure. This is why we are working hard at the political level and with energy suppliers to establish infrastructure solutions with international connections as quickly as possible. Since we do not believe that Germany will be able to establish a self-sufficient hydrogen supply in the foreseeable future, we regard importing hydrogen produced from renewable sources as the only way to secure our needs. Under this assumption and with a realistic time horizon for such a connection, our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2045.

Strategy until the hydrogen era

The development of a national hydrogen infrastructure and connecting it to our sites has a long-term time horizon. In order to gradually reduce our carbon emissions until a supply of green hydrogen is available, here at Waelzholz we’ve developed a comprehensive strategy that includes a consideration of emissions at all levels of the value chain and provides mechanisms to avoid them.

Our products’ carbon footprints include all emissions generated by our company and our crude steel suppliers, i.e. Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Emissions from crude steel producers account for a significant share of our finished products’ carbon footprint, averaging around 90 %. We must respond to this strategically with procurement measures that take into account all possible options for switching to low-carbon emissions steel products, both nationally and internationally.

Carbon avoidance is increasingly becoming a concrete task and a challenge for our customers. In addition to our traditional key area of expertise in materials technology, the carbon footprint is therefore also becoming increasingly important to us in the framework of the specific advice we give our customers during the selection of materials. As a technology leader, we are committed to supporting our customers with extensive expertise in this area as well. In addition to reducing carbon emissions in agreement with the respective customer, we supply validated carbon footprints at the product level, which can then be used as certifiable evidence of the company’s own emission reductions. This offers our customers an extraordinary level of transparency and a reliable basis for reducing the carbon footprint of their own products.

Energy savings across all levels

We believe that reducing externally sourced Scope 3 emissions and emissions from our own production processes offers the greatest potential in terms of mitigating climate change. Our commitment to sustainability is also reflected in many small steps and initiatives, however, from the use of solar power and LED lighting in the production halls to heat recovery at our heat treatment facilities. Our investment policy is systematically geared to exploiting energy-saving opportunities in all areas.

In addition, we already cover a significant share of our electricity needs with green power. By the end of 2022, 40 percent of our electricity requirements will be covered by power from renewable sources. In this context, we focus on long-term relationships with the respective local energy providers and use only electricity from renewable sources with qualified certificates of origin.

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