LIBERTY Ostrava Has Taken

a Major Step Towards Carbon

Neutrality, Says Sandip Biswas

Today, steel production is one of the largest industrial producers of carbon emissions. However,

this will soon change at the LIBERTY Ostrava steelworks. „We are taking major steps to achieve

carbon neutrality by 2030,“ says Sandip Biswas, GFG Alliance’s Chief Investment Officer and

Interim CEO for LIBERTY Primary Steel and Mining, of which LIBERTY Ostrava is part of. Among

other responsibilities, Sandip is responsible for leading LIBERTY’s CN30 initiative, which aims to

ensure the business has carbon neutrality by 2030.

How is LIBERTY Ostrava going to meet

its goals of carbon neutrality?




transformation strategy is making good

progress. We took an important step in

July when Sanjeev Gupta, our Executive

Chairman, signed a contract with the

Italian company Danieli for the supply

of two hybrid electric furnaces for

LIBERTY Ostrava. Sanjeev also signed

a Declaration of Cooperation with ČEZ

ESCO, part of the ČEZ group, to partner

in the identification and development

of the renewable energy and hydrogen

technologies required.

In the Czech Republic, we’ve also launched

the GFG Foundation – a charity founded

by Sanjeev and his wife Nicola aimed at

inspiring, encouraging and helping future

generations into a career in industry - as

well as the GREENSTEEL Academy, which

will help upskill our existing and future

employees for the new technologies we

will need to become carbon neutral.

Can you describe the benefits that

the new furnaces will bring?

They are essential to our CN30 initiative.

The new furnaces, the first of their kind

in Europe and which will be in place by

2025, will have a combined capacity of 3.5

million tonnes per annum and will reduce

the overall CO2 emissions of the Ostrava

steelworks by more than 80% by 2027.

The new furnaces will reduce the plant’s

reliance on imported coal and iron ore and

will have even greater production flexibility.

What else will this take apart from

the furnaces?

The two, 200-tonne furnaces are highly

flexible in the charge mix they use, from

large quantities of Hot Metal and Direct

Reduced Iron (DRI/HBI) up to 100% scrap in

the second phase of the project, which will

follow the planned installation of a 400kV

electricity line into the steelworks. This will

be made possible by patented electronics

technology to control arc current and

voltage, allowing for a more efficient and

stable power supply to the furnaces.

However, in order to achieve the goal

of carbon neutrality it will also be

necessary to have green energy. How do

you plan to obtain it?

For this purpose, we have entered into

a partnership with ČEZ ESCO, which is

part of the ČEZ Group. Together we

will look for low-carbon and carbon-free

technologies for electricity generation,

especially in the field of renewable energy

sources and industrial use of hydrogen.

How much will the green revolution cost

LIBERTY Ostrava?

It will be a huge investment. The acquisition

of arc furnaces and other related activities

alone represent an investment of CZK 8.6

billion. Ostrava’s transition to GREENSTEEL

will be financed through a range of sources

including debt, equity, free cashflow and

through accessing government support

programmes. However, the transformation

is critical to meeting our target of being

carbon neutral by 2030.

Is this goal achievable, given the

unprecedented rise in energy prices?

Of course, in addition to achieving carbon

neutrality, we must do everything we can to

make the business profitable, competitive

and sustainable for the long term. The new

technology will be more efficient, which

will help us achieve significant savings,

while we will also obtain energy from

our own renewable sources. In short, it is

necessary to look at the transformation

holistically so that once it is complete

LIBERTY Ostrava will be economically,

environmentally and socially sustainable

for the benefit of the whole Ostrava region.

The Ostrava steelworks has been part

of the GFG Alliance of Entrepreneur

Sanjeev Gupta since 2019. How much

has it changed since then?

We bought LIBERTY Ostrava at a time

of the biggest decline in the steel

industry since 2008 quickly followed by

the COVID pandemic. In the first two

years, we supported the company with

a total of CZK 3.6 billion to keep the

plant running and people working. In

addition, we focused on improving the

operational and business performance

of the enterprise. In 2021, the business

recorded record production results and

had a strong start to 2022.

Does investing in the new furnaces also

represent a signal to the region that you

will continue to develop the company

and stay in Ostrava?

Absolutely. We employ six thousand

people here and, as in every place where

we do business, we strive to be a good

neighbour and member of the community.

We support local cultural and sporting

events, such as the popular Colours of

Ostrava festival as well as numerous nonprofit organisations. We also continue to

reduce the impact of our operation on

the environment, as we have done for more

than twenty years. I believe that our current

investment in GREENSTEEL will ensure

that in the future heavy industry will not

be seen as a burden on the environment,

but as a strategic sector contributing to the

prosperity of the region.

Mr Biswas, thank you for the interview.

POSITIV 3/2022 ǀ 23