ArcelorMittal to launch project to use hydrogen in steel production

Article by Amanda Jasi

THIS year steel and mining company ArcelorMittal is to launch a project in Hamburg, Germany that will use hydrogen on an industrial scale to directly reduce iron ore for steel production. The company aims to enable low-CO2 steel production.   

In ArcelorMittal’s process, 95% pure hydrogen will be separated from the top gas of an existing plant by pressure swing adsorption. To allow economical operation, the process will initially use grey hydrogen produced at gas separation. Grey hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced as a waste or industrial by-product. ‘Green’ hydrogen – produced using renewable energy – will be used in the future, when sufficient quantities are available.

ArcelorMittal, working with academia, will test the procedure in the coming years at a site in Hamburg. Reduction will initially be carried out at demonstration scale – 100,000 t/y.

The project costs amount to about €65m (US$72.4m) and a pilot plant is to be built in the coming years.

Frank Schulz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Germany, said: “Our Hamburg site offers optimum conditions for this innovative project: an electric arc furnace with DRI system and iron ore pellets stockyard as well as decades of know-how in this area. The use of hydrogen as a reducing agent shall now be tested in a new shaft furnace.”

ArcelorMittal is also advancing pioneering technology for direct CO2 avoidance as one of several pathways to low-emissions steelmaking. An industrial consortium in Sweden is doing similar work developing a process called Hybrit. Last year, the partners announced that they were to build a pilot plant to test steel production that produces water rather than CO2.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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