German steel maker Salzgitter AG in virtual Annual General Meeting reviewed the initial progress made under the Salzgitter AG 2030 strategy to establish the company as a leader in the circular economy by full realization of the SALCOS, Salzgitter Low CO2-Steelmaking transformation program envisaged by 2033. Salzgitter CEO Mr Gunnar Groebler said “Experience tells me that it is better to move ahead instead of applying the brakes and then running to catch up. Assuming a positive vote from the Supervisory Board in the summer, we therefore intend to replace the first blast furnace by direct reduction plants and electric arc furnaces as early as 2025. More than one million tonnes of green steel produced via this route is planned for 2026. By 2033, so 12 years earlier than originally scheduled, the integrated steelworks are to have been fully aligned to the new world. CO2 savings of 8 million tonnes a year could be made, which corresponds to around one percent of Germany’s emissions. We are ready! It is now up to the policymakers to set in place the right economic and political framework conditions. This particularly applies to the topics of creating green leading markets, clarity in terms of funds to promote the transformation, and accelerating approval procedures.”Mr Groebler also emphasized that achieving the aim of establishing the Group as an independent market leader for circular economy solutions with innovative products and processes under the Salzgitter AG 2030 strategy is only possible if accompanied by strong partners and networks. A few groundbreaking partner agreements have therefore already been concluded with suppliers and customers in recent months. The streamlining of the Group’s structure, completed with effect from 1 April 2022, forms another pillar of the new strategy. Salzgitter Group is now divided into four segments instead of previously five. The Group's steel activities are recombined under the new Steel Production & Steel Processing business units in line with value added and customer requirements. The Trading and Technology business units remain as they are.Central elements of SALCOS are electricity from renewable sources and its use in the production of hydrogen by means of electrolysis. This green hydrogen will replace the coal currently being used in the conventional blast furnace process. This will be possible with the help of direct reduction plants, in which iron ore is reduced to iron directly in the solid state by hydrogen. This technology emits water vapor instead of CO2. SALCOS thus pursues the Carbon Direct Avoidance approach, which stands for avoiding the generation of CO2 in steel production from the outset. Overall, our approach enables us to reduce CO2 emissions in steel production by over 95%.Windwasserstoff Salzgitter aims to generate hydrogen in Salzgitter through electrolysis and electricity from wind power. These activities are intended to put down the foundation for harnessing larger volumes of hydrogen in the future to reduce direct CO2 emissions in the production of steel. Avacon built seven wind turbines with an output of 30 megawatts on the premises of the Salzgitter Group, three of which are located on the grounds of the steel mill. Industrial gas supplier Linde ensures the steady supply of hydrogen.Essential element of the GrInHy2.0 project is to produce hydrogen the most energy efficient way while increasing the technological maturity of the High-Temperature Electrolyser. Although starting with hydrogen production for today’s steel annealing processes, GrInHy2.0 marks an important milestone towards a hydrogen-based, low carbon European steel industry. Here, hydrogen has the potential to reduce today’s process related CO2 emissions by more than 95 %. The Salzgitter companies Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH and Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH together with the partners Sunfire GmbH, Paul Wurth, Tenova SpA and the French research centre CEA are working together. With the first implementation of a high-temperature electrolyser of the Megawatt-class, GrInHy2.0’s prototype will produce 200 cubic meter pe hour of hydrogen at nominal power input of 720 kWAC. The HTE system consists of up to eight modules with 720 or 1,080 SOECs each, i.e. 24 or 36 stacks, respectively.In addition, the μDRAL innovation project comprises of direct reduction ironmaking plant is the world's first direct reduction plant flexibly operated with hydrogen and natural gas in an integrated steel mill. μ here stands for the reduction scale of the plant. Direct reduction enables to avoid the generation of CO2 in steel production from the outset and is therefore a significant sub-step of the SALCOS® project.