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‘Green’ steelmaking

Seamlessly following the successful completion of the GrInHy project (Green Industrial Hydrogen via reversible high-temperature electrolysis) in February, the GrInHy2.0 project was launched last month at the Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH steelworks (Germany; www.salzgitter-flachstahl.de). Together with partners Sunfire GmbH (Dresden, Germany; www.sunfire.de), Paul Wurth S.A., Tenova S.p.A., French research center CEA and Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH, the world’s most powerful high-temperature electrolyzer (HTE) is being constructed for the energy-efficient production of H2. The GrInHy2.0 project has an overall budget of € 5.5 million.

GrInHy2.0 marks the first implementation of an HTE with a power rating of 720 kW in an industrial environment. By the end of 2022 it is expected to have been in operation for at least 13,000 h, producing a total of around 100 metric tons of high-purity (99.98 %) H2, which will be used for annealing processes in the integrated steelworks as a replacement for H2 produced from natural gas.

H2 as a reducing agent is also a central element in SALCOS (Salzgitter Low-CO2 Steelmaking), the Salzgitter Group’s concept for reduced-CO2 steel production, is set to replace the carbon previously required to reduce iron ore to metallic iron. SALCOS is based on elements of various proven technologies, allowing the concept to be implemented swiftly at an industrial level.

By increasing the scale of the HTE, the GrInHy2.0 project will have the ability to extensively trial and test the integration of “green” H2 into the steelworks processes. To do so, the gaseous product of the Sunfire-HyLink electrolyzer will first be compressed and dried in the H2 -processing unit supplied by Paul Wurth. Salzgitter Flachstahl will be responsible for operating the plant and feeding the gas into the company’s own H2 network.

In parallel with this, CEA will conduct multi-year trials of the electrolyzer stacks that form the central elements of HTE technology. Tenova will support the project through a technical and economic study to accompany the decarburization of European steel industry through the conversion at a very low CO2, green-H2 -based steel production. Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung is responsible for project coordination and management.

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