Green Steel Making Initiatives in Focus in Europe
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Green Steel Making Initiatives in Focus in Europe

Reuters reported that European steelmakers are under pressure to cut carbon emissions while maintaining profitability in a market where there is fierce

Reuters reported that European steelmakers are under pressure to cut carbon emissions while maintaining profitability in a market where there is fierce competition, mainly from China, while pollution permit costs are spiralling higher. ArcelorMittal Europe CEO Mr Geert Van Poelvoorde told Reuters in an interview “We are looking for partners from the energy sector to deliver renewable power. We want to replace carbon and increase the use of scrap metal. It would cost between 1 and 1.5 billion euros to transform its Bremen and Eisenhuettenstadt plants. The Bremen and EKO plans have the potential to save five million tonnes of CO2 per year. That is significant.”

Several European steelmakers have embarked on decarbonisation course. The efforts come in the context of national and EU level goals to cut emissions to protect the climate, while ensuring key industries can survive amid rising environmental costs. Following are green transformation initiatives by steelmakers in Europe

The HYBRIT initiative was launched in spring 2016 with the aim to develop the world’s first fossil free ore based steelmaking technology Hybrit Development AB is a joint venture owned by steelmaker SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall. Hybrit opened a breakthrough pilot plant for hydrogen-based primary steel in Lulea in Sweden in 2020. The plan is to establish a demonstration plant at scale in 2026. While a critical step in the technology development process, the HYBRIT project will not in itself change the steel industry.

What is currently the world’s largest pilot plant for the CO2-neutral production of hydrogen has successfully commenced operation at the voestalpine site in Linz, simultaneously setting an international milestone in the advancement of new energy supply options. As part of the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, partners voestalpine, VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET and TNO are researching into the industrial production of green hydrogen as a means of replacing fossil fuels in steel production over the long term.

Essen based energy company STEAG, Duisburg-based steel producer thyssenkrupp Steel and Dortmund-based thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers, specializing in electrolysis technology, are working on a joint feasibility study. The study deals with the construction of a water electrolysis plant at the STEAG site in Duisburg-Walsum by thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers, the structuring of energy supply and operation of the electrolysis plant by STEAG and the supply of green hydrogen and oxygen to thyssenkrupp Steel's steel mill in the neighbouring Duisburg district of Bruckhausen. The study will lay the basis for the subsequent project development. All three parties involved are planning to participate as investors and will actively seek private and public funding.

ArcelorMittal has unveiled its latest projects to decarbonise its two steel sites in France in Dunkirk North and Fos-sur-Mer Bouches-du-Rhone, which each have two blast furnaces. In addition to recycling, which is gaining ground, two avenues are being explored to reduce the carbon footprint of steel. The first is the capture of CO2, which will be stored or recovered. The second is the direct reduction of the ore green hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water thanks to renewable electricity.

Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH also appears to be on track to soon catch up with the new green steel trend. A year ago, the company signed a contract with Siemens Gas and Power. The latter committed to build a 2.2 MW electrolysis plant that will produce green hydrogen using wind power. In the future, this plant will become part of the hydrogen-based steel production project at SZFG. The new capacity is expected to be launched in the coming months.

Danieli, Leonardo and Saipem have signed a framework agreement to work together on projects both in Italy, particularly in the South, and abroad, for the sustainable conversion of energy-intensive primary plants in the steel sector. The three companies propose to jointly supply technologies and services aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the steel production process to create an innovative and sustainable model. The new technological solution involves replacing conventional steel production processes based on blast furnaces with a new process that will use hybrid electric powered furnaces integrated with direct iron ore reduction plants that apply a methane and hydrogen mixture to obtain green steel with limited Green House Gas emissions. As part of the agreement, Danieli will be the contractor for the supply of the direct reduction technological equipment and electric furnaces.

Norwegian based broad energy company Equinor, gas transmission system operator OGE and steel producer thyssenkrupp Steel Europe have concluded their joint feasibility study started in October 2019 and will continue their cooperation on the topic going forward. The three partners goal is to evaluate the possibility to supply thyssenkrupp Steel’s Duisburg site with blue hydrogen to allow for significant CO2 reductions via a nearly climate neutral steel production in the short and midterm when other types of hydrogen, especially green, are expected not to be available in sufficient quantities to meet the demand. The study finds that the decarbonized production and supply of blue hydrogen from natural gas to Germany’s largest steel plant in Duisburg is technically feasible. Going forward, the partners intend to continue working on further details and build the basis for potential investment decisions.

H2 Green Steel will be a large-scale steel producer based on a fossil-free manufacturing process targeting large European OEMs. H2GS will be located in the Boden-Lulea region in northern Sweden that offers unique conditions for fossil-free steel production. The project includes a giga-scale green hydrogen plant as an integrated part of the steel production facility. H2GS will build a large-scale, Greenfield steel manufacturing facility in the Norrbotten region in northern Sweden to enable production of fossil-free steel at a leading cost position. Production will begin in 2024 and by 2030 H2GS will have annual production capacity of 5 million tonnes of high quality steel.

GFG Alliance’s LIBERTY Steel Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Paul Wurth and Stahl-Holding-Saar to assess the building and operating of an industrial-sized, hydrogen based steel making plant at Dunkerque in France. If developed, the plant would be one of the first operations of its type in France. The pan-European partnership will work together on a project to incorporate a 2 million tonne Direct Reduced Iron plant, with an integrated 1 GW capacity hydrogen electrolysis production unit, next to GFG’s ALVANCE Aluminium Dunkerque site. The DRI plant will initially use a mix of hydrogen and natural gas as the reluctant to produce DRI and hot briquetted iron, before transitioning to using 100% hydrogen once the electrolysis production unit is complete.

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