Scientists Confirms Thyssenkrupp Steel‘s Climate NeutralityConcept
Commissioned by thyssenkrupp Steel, the team of Prof Bernd Friedrich, Director of the renowned Institute IME Metallurgische Prozesstechnik und
Commissioned by thyssenkrupp Steel, the team of Prof Bernd Friedrich, Director of the renowned Institute IME Metallurgische Prozesstechnik und Metallrecycling of RWTH Aachen University, has analyzed the technical concept of Germany's largest steel producer to integrate the direct reduction process into the existing steel mill with a novel melting unit. The study is focused on validating the furnace technology as an intelligent approach to prepare the direct reduced iron for further processing in the existing steel mill. The scientists have come to the clear conclusion that the concept pursued by the Duisburg-based steel producer is technologically feasible, scalable and innovative. On the basis of thermochemical simulations developed especially for the study, the scientists confirmed thyssenkrupp’s main assumptions: The planned melting unit is suitable to melt down the iron reduced in the direct reduction plant, thus producing a liquid hot metal-like material to be processed in the steel mill. The study examined various technical factors such as energy requirements, positioning of electrodes, dimensions of the “melting unit” and the principal usability of slags. Aside from the technical feasibility, the study also provided findings that will now be used for designing the new unit.
To thyssenkrupp Steel, the factor “steel mill” is essential on its way to climate transformation. As part of the corporate strategy, the company focuses on high-quality premium grades and hence also on the established processes in the two BOF melt shops at the Duisburg site. Early in 2021, the company approved investments in the high three-digit million range to strengthen the capacities in these product segments and important markets of the future like e-mobility.
This study now provides thyssenkrupp Steel with external confirmation of the model for integrating the direct reduction process into the existing metallurgical network in Duisburg. This means that the steel mill can be decarbonized with the lowest possible cost and effort, and, in the long term, the entire portfolio of grades can be produced climate neutrally, including all premium grades. The climate strategy thus fits seamlessly into the company's product strategy, which is focused on premium grades.
Apart from Prof Bernd Friedrich’s team, a renowned auditing firm commissioned by the company to analyze the market for green steel, has confirmed that thyssenkrupp’s transformation path is suitable for achieving the company’s climate goals. According to this analysis, there will be a significant market for green steel in Europe by 2030. Moreover, the auditors’ findings confirm that the construction of two DR plants with melting units will make the company’s medium-term climate goal achievable and realistic: The adapted plant configuration will enable thyssenkrupp Steel to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030.