Cleveland-Cliffs completes hydrogen injection trial at Indiana blast furnace

Cleveland-Cliffs has announced a successful completion of a hydrogen injection trial at its Indiana Harbour (IH#7) blast furnace.

As the “largest” blast furnace in North America, the project will be the second Cleveland-Cliff blast furnace to utilise hydrogen as a reductant and fuel source, following its successful trial at Middletown Works last year (2023).

Linde supplied the hydrogen gas to the project, which will advance Cliffs greenhouse gas reduction efforts. The company recently completed the commissioning of the hydrogen pipeline at Indiana Harbour, which was used for the trial.

IH#7 is expected to compare favourably against similar equipment in Japan, South Korea, China, and Europe, and its technological capability will support the production of high-end steels, including highly specified automotive feedstock.

Lourenco Goncalves, Cleveland-Cliffs’ Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, said, “IH#7 is the largest blast furnace in North America and we are proud of our ability to be ahead of the curve in using this cutting-edge technology to decarbonise, while maintaining both our efficiency and the high standard of quality that comes with steel produced via the blast furnace route.

“As the American iron and steel leader we are proud that we are ahead of the rest of the world in using the technologies that make our blast furnace steel the cleanest in the world, including using iron ore pellets, natural gas injection, HBI, and now hydrogen.”

Across the globe, steel manufacturers are looking towards hydrogen to decarbonise. Last year (2023), the European Commission approved a €2.6bn ($2.8bn) German measure to support decarbonising steel production through hydrogen.

The funding will be directed towards steel production in Völklingen and Dillingen, Saarland, where there are two blast furnaces and five basic oxygen converters producing crude steel.

Read more:Germany to support SHS’ hydrogen-driven steel production project

The UK Government also revealed it will impose a carbon levy on imported steel from 2027, ensuring products from overseas face a comparable price to UK-produced alternatives.

Under the new rules, highly traded, carbon intensive products from overseas including iron, steel, aluminium, fertiliser, hydrogen, ceramics, glass and cement will face comparable carbon pricing to those domestically produced.

Read more:UK announces CBAM rules that will come into force in 2027

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