Germany's Dillinger and Saarstahl steel group announced Aug. 21 the start of the first hydrogen-based steel production in Europe's biggest steel market to help cut carbon emissions.
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The group's Rogesa blast furnace operational unit in Dillingen, western Germany, started using hydrogen-rich gas from coke ovens with a Eur14-million ($16.5-million) investment in a new gas conversion plant, the group said.
The plant may enable future use of pure hydrogen in both blast furnaces, after the group gains experience in using the fuel.
The complete conversion of steel production to hydrogen, electric arc furnaces and hydrogen-based direct reduction plants is depend on future availability in the Saarland region of green hydrogen in sufficient quantities and based on competitive conditions, it said.
"Carbon emissions from the blast furnace can be reduced by replacing the carbon in the blast furnace with hydrogen as a reducing agent and energy source," it said. "Dillinger and Saarstahl are further cutting their carbon ions while also creating the conditions for practical use of green hydrogen."
As Germany focuses on developing low carbon hydrogen use in the economy, Federal Minister of Economics and Energy Peter Altmaier visited Dillingen on Aug. 21 together with senior regional politicians, it said.
"We are ready for the transformation to green steel," Saarstahl and Dillinger Chairman Tim Hartmann said. "This investment confirms: Saarstahl and Dillinger are ready to take the next big steps on the way to producing green steel."