Water is used in the production of both pig iron and crude steel for cooling and generating steam; it is one of the most important consumables and auxiliary materials. It goes without saying that voestalpine conserves water resources as a matter of course—especially taking the local environment into account. This is achieved by means of circular systems and the repeated use of process water, among other things.
In keeping with ISO 14046, voestalpine applies an integrated life cycle assessment approach to its circular water economy throughout all production steps and locations.
Determining the “blue water consumption” (i.e., the net consumption of freshwater) and the water scarcity footprint of every production facility involves conducting a detailed analysis of the ways they contribute to the water scarcity of a region, taking local hydrogeological conditions into account.
voestalpine used approximately 687 million m³ of water in the calendar year 2018, but some 93% of this amount was used solely for cooling purposes. The water was sourced from surface water and returned to the source in the same quality. Accordingly, the company’s direct blue water consumption in the calendar year 2018 was 12.7 million m³ or 1.32 m³/t of product. Upstream steel production accounted for most of the indirect blue water consumption of 48.6 million m³ or 5.03 m³/t of product.
The impact of voestalpine’s process plants on local water systems thus is relatively low and does not aggravate conditions in regions already affected by water scarcity. There are the findings of an externally verified study on the determination of the water scarcity footprint in 2018, which plotted a Group-wide analysis of the production activities along the entire value chain (i.e., from cradle to gate).
Water extraction 2018
Water footprint voestalpine AG