The steel industry accounts for 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, making it an urgent target for decarbonisation.
With global steel demand set to increase by around 6% by 2030, greening the steel industry is essential for the energy transition.
The complex nature of steel production makes green hydrogen the most fitting solution for decarbonising the industry, through the indirect electrification of the iron ore reduction process.
This will require the integration of variable renewable energy resources, through the use of hydrogen technologies.
Changing the landscape
The European Hydrogen Roadmap, as well as other recent studies by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and IRENA, identifies steel as the leading sector for new feedstock applications for hydrogen.
By supporting technological advancements and demonstrating how hydrogen applications can be used for cleaner steel production and processing, the FCH JU is playing a pivotal role in decarbonising the industry.
The FCH JU is developing technologies for environmentally friendly steel production using new electrolyser concepts.
It has established the prerequisites for market uptake by creating reference sites, proving the feasibility of large-scale green hydrogen production at industrial sites and upscaling important technologies like high-temperature electrolysis.
The FCH JU’s goal is to help European industry develop products at such a scale that would allow hydrogen to help green various industrial sectors. In the process, the FCH JU is facilitating the cooperation between the steel and energy sectors.
The FCH JU-funded GrInHy project spent three years developing the largest high temperature solid oxide electrolyser in the world, and demonstrating its use for producing hydrogen for the surface treatment of steel.
By demonstrating the capacity of solid oxide electrolysers to produce hydrogen efficiently, the GrInHy2 project is paving the way for European industries to exploit waste industrial heat.
Project H2FUTURE has developed the largest low-temperature proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser of 6MW, and is using the resulting hydrogen for direct iron-ore reduction.
The long-term goal is to enable green electrolytic hydrogen to completely replace coke oven gas, making hydrogen a cost effective solution for the steel industry.
Key results? Proof that environmentally friendly steel production is possible using innovative hydrogen technologies.
The FCH JU has achieved a lot in the twelve years since its inception, as it strives to make hydrogen and fuel cell products an everyday reality.
Over the course of a brand-new series ‘Pillars of Progress’, H2 View, in partnership with the FCH JU, is celebrating the organisation’s success stories and bringing you, our readers, an exclusive article every fortnight.
Creating low-carbon and sustainable solutions, enabling market entry for new products, developing ‘next generation’ products based on previous research and opening new markets for European expertise in fuel cell and hydrogen technology are just some of the FCH JU’s success stories, as you will read about over the coming months.