Water is used in the production of pig iron and crude steel for cooling and for the generation of steam, and is one of the most important consumables and auxiliary materials. Conserving water resources, and with particular consideration of the local circumstances, is achieved using methods including closed-circuit systems and the multiple use of process water.
In accordance with ISO 14046, voestalpine takes an integrated life cycle assessment approach to the water circulation system at all production locations.
By calculating the net blue water consumption and the water scarcity footprint, a detailed examination which includes the local hydrogeological conditions determines the contribution of each production location to water scarcity in its region.
The amount of water used by voestalpine in calendar year 2017 was around 760 million m3, with more than 93% used solely for cooling purposes. This water was sourced from surface water and returned to this source in the same quality.
Accordingly, the voestalpine AG net blue water consumption in 2017 amounted to 14.1 million m3, or 1.32 m3/ton of crude steel. At 53.89 million m3, or 5.03 m3/ton of crude steel, the significantly larger share of overall net blue water consumption derived mainly from raw materials procurement and the use of special alloying elements.
Calculating the water scarcity footprint also indicates that, where the value chain as a whole (cradle-to-gate) is considered, voestalpine operations make a relatively negligible contribution to water scarcity in individual regions and ecosystems.
Water consumption 2017
Water footprint at the Linz site