Cleaning up steel

Steel is essential to our daily lives--however, it is also responsible for huge amounts of carbon dioxide production. Professor Sadoway explains its impact using a new "country": “If you take the total carbon dioxide emissions of the world in 2018, and you break it down by country, the number one contributor is China,” Sadoway says. “Number two is the United States. And if I took the total carbon dioxide emissions from the world steel industry, and compared them to all other countries, steel would rank third. So you have China, the U.S., and what I call The Republic of Steel.” 

Fortunately, many companies and researchers are reimagining the industrial processes behind our most polluting materials. Possible solutions range from a company near Boston that’s developing a way to make steel that replaces carbon dioxide emissions with oxygen, to MIT research on an electrically conducting cement with eco-friendly applications that could offset the material’s negative impacts.