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H2Future project steel linz siemens

14/02/2017

Electrolysis demo seeks green steel plant

Austria project will produce feedstock from water

Adam Duckett

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A CONSORTIUM including Siemens will build a demonstration plant in Austria to produce greener hydrogen for steel production using renewable power.

Funded with €12m (US$12.7m) from the EU, the project partners will build what they describe as one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants for producing green hydrogen from water. Siemens will provide a 6 MW proton exchange membrane electrolyser for the H2Future project. It will be built at voestalpine’s site in Linz where the resulting hydrogen will be used directly in the company’s production of steel. VERBUND, the project co-ordinator will provide the electricity for splitting the water from renewable sources.

More than 500bn m3 of hydrogen are used each year around the world, with more than 95% produced using CO2-intensive gas reforming processes. Heavy industry needs to finds alternative routes to such feedstocks if operators are to meet climate targets.

“This CO2-heavy hydrogen can be replaced by hydrogen from electrolysis, greatly improving the emission balance resulting from industrial processes,” said Wolfgang Hesoun, CEO of Siemens Austria. “Moreover, if the electrolysis is undertaken with electricity from renewable sources, the hydrogen production is virtually climate-neutral."

The project will also investigate how electrolysis might be used in other hydrogen-using sectors, and how it might help balance intermittent renewable energy production.

Last month, a new Hydrogen Council was formed by 13 companies across industry sectors, which called on world leaders to back a shift to hydrogen in an effort to combat climate change.

In April last year, a Swedish consortium committed to develop a steel production process that uses electrolysis to produce hydrogen in a bid to only emit water rather than CO2.

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