Real laboratory of the energy transition makes steel production more sustainable thanks to hydrogen

Press Release

With H2Steel, a real laboratory for the energy transition is being launched at the largest European steel location in Duisburg. The project is testing the use of hydrogen in steel production in order to reduce CO2 emissions and thus make a contribution to climate protection. In the next five years, the project partners want to use hydrogen in the production of pig iron in the blast furnace. In the medium term, CO2 emissions are to be reduced by up to 20 percent. The consortium also wants to work on further tests to enable completely CO2-free steel production in the future. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the real laboratory of the energy transition with around 37 million euros.

Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier: “Hydrogen is the key to green steel production and to the successful, sustainable transformation of the industry. Projects such as the real laboratory of the energy transition H2Stahl take the first important steps on this path and contribute to the German steel industry not only becoming climate-friendly, but also remaining competitive in the future. That’s why I worked early on to ensure that Germany could play a leading role with these innovative approaches.”

The three consortium partners from H2Stahl, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, AIR LIQUIDE Deutschland GmbH and the VDEh-Betriebsforschungsinstitut GmbH are working on the project at the Duisburg steel site. During ongoing operation, it is to be tested how hydrogen can replace coal as a reducing agent in the production of pig iron in the blast furnace. Pig iron is a preliminary product that is used for about 70 percent of German steel. At the same time, the H2Steel team wants to demonstrate direct reduction. This alternative technology to the blast furnace should be able to work with pure hydrogen in the future. To ensure that sufficient hydrogen is available, the consortium is also expanding the pipeline infrastructure on site.

The real laboratories of the energy transition are a funding measure of the BMWi in the 7th energy research program. Funding is available to companies and research institutions that develop new technologies and solutions for the energy transition and test them under real conditions on an industrial scale, i.e. in practice.

More information about H2Stahl and a detailed project portrait can be found here.

Source: BMWi press release of November 15, 2021