Technologies can be developed to increase the proportion of hydrogen fed into the shaft furnace up to 100%. Where renewable energy is used to produce ‘green hydrogen’ for use in this way, it directly displaces CO2. However, where insufficient levels of renewable energy are available, industry will need to use ‘blue’ hydrogen, derived directly from fossil fuels or industrial gases and combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS) to ensure carbon neutrality.
ArcelorMittal is developing a new, innovation project at our Hamburg site in Germany aimed at the first industrial scale production and use of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) made with 100% hydrogen as the reductant, with an annual production of 100,000 tonnes of steel.
The process of reducing iron ore with hydrogen will first be tested using grey hydrogen generated from gas separation. We aim to achieve the separation of H2 with a purity of more than 97% from the waste gas of the existing plant, using a process known as ‘pressure swing absorption’. This will allow us to develop technological solutions at industrial scale to reduce iron ore with only Hydrogen and in absence of carbon. Many technical and practical challenges are ahead of us, which only can be solved in an operational plant, something that has never been done up to now due to lack of hydrogen infrastructure.