MPI receives funding for green steel hydrogen pilot project

Article by Kerry Hebden

The Materials Processing Institute (MPI) has announced it is leading a national project to demonstrate green steelmaking innovation in the UK (Image MPI)

THE Materials Processing Institute (MPI) has announced it is leading a national project to demonstrate green steelmaking innovation in the UK, which according to the MPI’s CEO, has the potential to revive the British steel industry. 

Codenamed H2DRI, the project will use hydrogen and electricity to power iron furnaces instead of using traditional fuels such as coke and other polluting fossil fuels to create a low carbon steel industry. 

To support H2DRI, MPI secured funding of £270,000 (US$326,000) as part of Phase 1 of the UK Government’s £55m Industrial Fuel Switching competition. This will fund a feasibility study, after which permanent and accessible national pilot production facilities will be developed. 

MPI is collaborating with Teesside University, electrical technology developer C-Tech Innovation, the Steel and Metals Institute at Swansea University, and global metals and mining company Rio Tinto. MPI says that further collaborations with ironmakers, steelmakers and supply chain businesses, including energy developers, will also be made. 

Chris McDonald, MPI’s CEO, said: “The continued reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal, for much of the world’s fresh steel is one of the biggest challenges to decarbonisation. With demand outstripping the availability of steel to recycle, it is critical we transition quickly towards greener methods of production.” 

Based in Teesside, MPI has served as the UK’s national steel innovation centre since 1944.  

Separately, it is also teaming up with British Steel, which is conducting a major study into the use of green hydrogen as a means to decarbonise its operations after pledging to deliver net-zero steel by 2050. The project, dubbed “Green Hydrogen in Steel Manufacture” also won funding worth £161,050 from the same Industrial Fuel Switching competition. 

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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