The “world’s largest” pilot plant for CO2-neutral production of hydrogen has commenced operation at the voestalpine site in Linz, Austria.
The new plant has a capacity of over six megawatts and is currently regarded as the most effective and state-of-the-art facility of its type. The facility will test whether the technology deployed to produce green hydrogen is suitable for use on an industrial scale.
The project, which received €18m in EU funding, will also investigate the potential to provide network services and potentially compensate for fluctuations in the power grid.
“We have set ourselves a clear goal of greater direct avoidance of CO2 emissions in steel manufacturing over the coming years,” said Herbert Eibensteiner, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG.
“With the start of operations at the world’s largest hydrogen pilot plant at our site in Linz, we have succeeded in taking a significant step towards driving this technological transformation.”
Overtime, voestalpine is striving to successfully increase the use of green hydrogen within the steel production processing, allowing the group to reduce its CO2 emissions by over 80% by 2050.
“This plant uses renewable energy to split water into its constituent parts, hydrogen and oxygen. The process creates a huge potential to decarbonise the energy and economic system and make it more flexible,” said Wolfgang Hesoun, Chairman of the Management Board of Siemens AG Österreich (Siemens Austria).
Electrolysis can also be used to support the power grid, by extracting excess power from the grid as required, an important factor in view of the increasing fluctuation in power generated by renewables.
“The use of green hydrogen is both a win-win situation for power generation and industry, and a perfect example of sector coupling through electrification,” said Wolfgang Anzengruber, VERBUND CEO.
As part of the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, partners voestalpine, VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET and TNO are researching into industrial production of green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in steel production.