Water is one of the most important consumables and auxiliary materials in the production of both pig iron and crude steel as well as in downstream processing operations. It serves cooling purposes and generates steam.
Always taking local conditions into account, voestalpine succeeds in conserving water resources via circular systems and the repeated use of process water, among other things. In keeping with ISO 14046 and the integrated LCA approach, assessments of the circular water economy are performed across all production steps and locations.
Determining the “blue water consumption” (i.e., the net consumption of freshwater) and/or the water scarcity footprint of each and every production facility involves conducting detailed analyses of the ways they contribute to the water scarcity of a region, taking local hydrogeological conditions into account.
voestalpine used approximately 703 million m3 of water in the calendar year 2019, but some 94% of this amount was sourced from surface water for cooling purposes and returned to the source in the same quality. Accordingly, the company’s direct net blue water consumption was 12.5 million m3 or 1.32 m3/t of product, just as in the previous year. Upstream steel production accounted for most of the indirect net blue water consumption of 47.9 million m3 or 5.03 m3/t of product, this too just as a year earlier.
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. These are the findings of an externally verified study on the determination of the water scarcity footprint, which plotted a Group-wide analysis of the production activities along the entire value chain (i.e., from cradle to gate).
Water extraction 2019
Water footprint voestalpine AG