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Potential transitions in the iron and steel industry in Sweden: Towards a hydrogen-based future?

Karakaya, Emrah, Nuur, Cali, Assbring, Linda
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.195 pp. 651-663
carbon dioxide, case studies, greenhouse gas emissions, industry, iron, issues and policy, steel, technology, Sweden
The iron and steel industry accounts for one third of global industrial CO2 emissions, putting pressure on the industry to shift towards more sustainable modes of production. However, for an industry characterised by path dependency and technological lock-ins, sustainability transitions are not straightforward. In this study, we aim to explore the potential pathways for sustainability transitions in the iron and steel industry. To do so, we have conducted a case study in Sweden where there are policy and industry commitments towards fossil-free steel production. Our theoretical points of departure are the technological innovation system (TIS) approach and the multi-level perspective (MLP), and our paper presents the dynamics behind an emerging case of transition towards a hydrogen-based future. The paper has two major contributions to the literature on sustainability transitions. First, it attempts to borrow some concepts from the MLP and integrate them with the TIS approach. Second, it empirically presents an in-depth case study of the iron and steel industry – an understudied context in the field of sustainability transitions. By doing so, it sheds some light on the dynamics between an emerging TIS and potential transition pathways of a regime.