Factbox: German steelmakers embark on decarbonisation course

FILE PHOTO: A steel worker of Germany's industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG takes a sample of raw iron from a blast furnace at Europe's largest steel factory in Duisburg
FILE PHOTO: A steel worker of Germany's industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG takes a sample of raw iron from a blast furnace at Germany's largest steel factory in Duisburg, Germany, January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

March 26, 2021

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German steelmaker Salzgitter this month started to produce hydrogen using wind power with a view to reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) long term while the European head of ArcelorMittal also told Reuters the company wants to decarbonise its processes.

The efforts come in the context of national and EU level goals to cut emissions to protect the climate, while ensuring key industries can survive amid rising environmental costs.

Following are green transformation initiatives by steelmakers in Europe’s biggest economy.

Germany’s steel industry emitted 58 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2019.

SALZGITTER

Plans to successively replace coal-based gases necessary for smelting iron ore with hydrogen. Will use natural gas as a less CO2 intensive transition fuel.

Has pre-emptively covered much of its output up to 2030 with EU carbon emissions allowances to buy time for its strategy shift.

Is due to test production of sponge iron by direct reduction (DRI) and smelt it in an electric arc furnace at Salzgitter.

Plans DRI activities and green hydrogen at Wilhelmshaven.

Thyssenkrupp

In the process of exploring deeper cooperation with Equinor which produces hydrogen from natural gas for Thyssenkrupp’s Duisburg plant, and with pipeline operator Open Grid Europe (OGE).

“Blue hydrogen” would be sequestered and transported to the Dutch or Norwegian North Sea to be stored in empty subsea oil and gas fields.

Has identified potential hydrogen production sites at Dutch and German offshore wind farms.

Pooling small electrolysis plants with E.ON and signed up to use RWE produced hydrogen.

Thyssenkrupp unit Uhde Chlorine Engineers (TKUCE) will scale up electrolysis capacity and is eyeing cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

ArcelorMittal

Is testing plans to deploy “smart carbon” using carbon recycled from bioenergy and green power and carbon capture and usage (CCU), while also pursuing DRI plans already in practice in Hamburg at Bremen and Eisenhuettenstadt.

(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Elaine Hardcastle)