Main content area

A study on material metabolism in Hebei iron and steel industry analysis

Dai, Tiejun
Resources, Conservation & Recycling 2015 v.95 pp. 183-192
energy resources, environmental degradation, imports, industry, iron, material flow analysis, primary energy, recycling, steel, sustainable development, wastes, China
The application of material flow analysis (MFA) as a tool produces an objective assessment on scale, structure, operation efficiency and other aspects of the development of iron and steel industry in Hebei Province. This study is based on the framework of “Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators: A methodological guide;” however, some necessary corrections have been made for the analysis of material metabolism according to the characteristics of industrial MFA and the reality in the Hebei iron and steel industry (HISI). Two panoramic MFA analyses of HISI in 2005 and 2010 were conducted respectively, which form a continuous analysis of scale, structure, and efficiency in material metabolism for HISI. The results show that between 2005 and 2010, there was a rapid development of HISI as a result of huge consumption of resource and energy. Between these years, the material inputs and material consumption increased by 3.30 times and 4.98 times, respectively, leading to serious environmental degradation and significant waste of resource and energy. Although the scale of material metabolism kept increasing, the rate of increase slowed. Hence, the total amount of waste emission increased year after year; specifically, gas waste witnessed an increase of 9.7% each year. Clearly, there is an excessive and growing dependence on primary energy resources. The amount of iron ore imports increased 2.61 times in 2010 compared to 2005. In order to achieve sustainable development in HISI, we recommend the following: improving technologies, strengthening material recycling, and promoting circular economy.