Energy efficiency in the iron and steel industry : cases of Zimbabwe and South Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This study looks at possible improvements of energy efficiency in the iron and steel industry in Zimbabwe and the case of South Africa is studied also for comparison. Data required was obtained through field visits and international databases. The fieldwork findings, analysis and published literature contributed to the conclusions and recommendations. There is a relationship between technology advancement, energy efficiency and energy intensity. The more modern technology a country's steel industry adopts the more energy efficient it becomes and so lowers its energy intensity. Countries such as South Korea, Japan and Germany have adopted modern technologies and they are among the most efficient steel producers and have the lowest energy intensities while India and China have low levels of modern technologies, low efficiencies and high intensities. ZISCO, the iron and steel industry of Zimbabwe has a relatively high energy intensity (closer to China and India) compared to South Africa and other developing country producers. ZISCO has both new and old technology while industry in South Africa, which has retired most old technology and closed all its less efficient plants, is largely using new and even state of the art technology in some of its plants. In Zimbabwe the national economic and industrial policies have had negative impacts on the growth and development of its iron and steel industry. ZISCO needs policies that support the adoption of energy efficient technology, create a level playing field for downstream steel industries since ZISCO has the potential to influence growth of this sector and the sector has prospects for significant foreign currency earnings. The study recommends a restructuring of ZISCO to improve productivity, and energy efficiency through replacement of old technologies in the medium to long term and implementation of some identified less capital-intensive options that are typical in an integrated steel mill.

Includes bibliographical references.