Air Emissions

Owing to its energy-intensive processes, conventional steelmaking still depends on fossil fuels. The emissions resulting from these processes as well as from chemico-physical reactions cannot be eliminated in full.

Yet voestalpine has been working for a long time to reduce process-related air pollutants to the technically possible minimum. This is accomplished by the continual optimization of technical processes (so-called “process integrated (PI) measures”). Remaining emissions are minimized by way of state-of-the-art scrubbing facilities (so-called “end-of-pipe measures”).

The major air pollutants that occur during the production of steel besides greenhouse gases (in particular CO2) are sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxide (NOx), and dust. voestalpine fully complies with the statutory limits regarding all of these emissions. These parameters are verified and their annual loads determined by means of continuous measurements, periodic analyses, and material flow analyses.

Comprehensive environmental measures have enabled the voestalpine Group over the past three decades to substantially lower emission levels to that which is technologically achievable at this time. As a result, the specific emissions per ton of crude steel have been reduced as follows: CO2 by 16%, SO2 by 82%, NOx by 65%, and dust by 96%.

Reduction in emissions

Per ton of crude steel since 1990

Reduction in emissions (barchart)

Greenhouse gas emissions

The direct greenhouse gas emissions of the voestalpine Group’s roughly 130 production facilities in 2019 amounted to 13.6 million tons, with Austria (specifically, the Group’s two crude steel production plants in Linz and Donawitz) accounting for the lion’s share thereof. The year-over-year increase (12.7 million tons) stems mainly from the fact that the largest individual blast furnace in Linz (Blast Furnace A) was temporarily shut down in 2018 for relining purposes.

voestalpine places great value on transparency and thus has participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) among others since 2017. To this end, the greenhouse gas emissions have been tallied and externally verified in comprehensive fashion for all production facilities along the entire value chain in accordance with ISO 14064-3.

In 2019, voestalpine was given the CDP’s “A-” rating for its work to mitigate climate change as well as for the scope, quality, and transparency of the underlying corporate data and thus promoted to the CDP’s “leadership” category, the best of four. Most recently, voestalpine was awarded the CDP’s best possible supplier engagement rating—A, i.e., “global leadership”—which assesses climate change mitigation across the entire value chain.

Direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions 2019

In millions of tons of CO2e

Direct and indirect GHG emissions (barchart)

SO2 Emissions

The use of particular raw materials—e.g., coal and coke—introduces sulfur into the production process. During certain processing steps and when by-products (coke oven gas and blast furnace gas) are used for thermal recycling, sulfur is emitted in the form of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

While the specific SO2 emissions in the calendar year 2019 were 0.49 kg/t of product, the absolute SO2 emissions rose to 4.6 kt compared with the previous year during which they were lower due to the idling of the plant in connection with the complete overhaul of Blast Furnace A at the Linz site.

SO2 Emissions


SO2 emissions (barchart)

Specific SO2 Emissions

kg/t of product

Specific SO2 emissions (barchart)

NOx Emissions

In steel production, nitrogen oxides result from the operation of industrial furnaces and from thermal recycling of the by-product gases. The absolute NOx emissions of voestalpine in the calendar year 2019 were approximately 6.1 kt, and the specific NOx emissions were 0.64 t.

NOx Emissions


NOX emissions (barchart)

Specific NOx Emissions

kg/t of product

Specific NOX emissions (barchart)

Captured dust emissions

Dust-laden exhaust air and exhaust gases occurring during production are captured and channeled to dedusting systems using state-of-the-art measures and precautions. In the calendar year 2019, absolute dust emissions were lowered from 0.36 kt to 0.32 kt and specific dust emissions per ton of product from 37 g to 34 g.

Captured dust emissions


Captured dust emissions (barchart)

Specific captured dust emissions

g/t of product

Specific captured dust emissions (barchart)

Organic air pollutants

Organic air pollutants (i.e., volatile organic compounds, VOC) are primarily process related, resulting from the thermal process stages in crude steel production and/or in connection with the respective combustion processes. Following a significant reduction in the Group’s absolute VOC emissions in the calendar year 2018 thanks to investments in coal drying, VOC emissions were substantially lowered yet again in the calendar year 2019, from 0.24 kt to 0.17 kt in absolute terms and from 24 g to 18 g in specific terms (i.e., per ton of product).

VOC Emissions


VOC emissions (barchart)

Specific voc emissions

g/t of product

Specific VOC emissions (barchart)

About voestalpine

In its business segments, voestalpine is a globally leading steel and technology group with a unique combination of materials and processing expertise. voestalpine, which operates globally, has around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries on all five continents. It has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products and system solutions, it is a leading partner to the automotive and consumer goods industries as well as the aerospace and oil & gas industries, and is also the world market leader in railway systems, tool steel, and special sections. voestalpine is fully committed to the global climate goals and is working intensively to develop technologies which will allow it to decarbonize and reduce its CO2 emissions over the long term. In the business year 2019/20, the Group generated revenue of EUR 12.7 billion, with an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 1.2 billion; it had about 49,000 employees worldwide.


50 Countries on all 5 continents
500 Group companies and locations
49,000 Employees worldwide

Earnings FY 2019/20

€ 12.7 Billion


€ 1.2 Billion


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