Both companies have now signed a Framework Collaboration Agreement (FCA) to cooperate on several projects, ranging from research and development to the implementation of new technologies. The FCA will be governed by a number of Project Development Agreements, incorporating the expertise of Midrex and ArcelorMittal. The first Project Development Agreement is to demonstrate in Hamburg the large-scale production and use of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) made with 100% hydrogen as the reductant.
In the coming years, the demonstration plant will produce about 100,000 tons of direct reduced iron per year - initially with grey hydrogen sourced from natural gas. Conversion to green hydrogen from renewable energy sources will take place once available in sufficient quantities and at an economical cost. Energy for hydrogen production could come from wind farms off the coast of Northern Germany. The plant will be the world’s first direct reduction plant on an industrial scale, powered by hydrogen.
"We are working with a world class provider, Midrex Technologies, to learn how you can produce virgin iron for steelmaking at a large scale by only using hydrogen. This project combined with our ongoing projects on the use of non-fossil carbon and on carbon capture and use is key to become carbon neutral in Europe in 2050. Large scale demonstrations are critical to show our ambition. However it will depend on the political conditions, how fast transformation will take place", comments Carl de Maré, Vice President at ArcelorMittal and responsible for technology strategy.
ArcelorMittal Hamburg already produces steel using DRI technology. During the process, iron oxide pellets are reduced to metallic iron, the raw material for high quality steel, by extracting oxygen using natural gas. "Our site is the most energy-efficient production plant at ArcelorMittal", says Dr Uwe Braun, CEO at ArcelorMittal Hamburg, adding that the existing Midrex plant in Hamburg is also the plant with the lowest CO2-emissions for high quality steel production in Europe. "With the new, hydrogen-based DRI plant we are now planning, we will raise steel production to a completely new level, as part of our Europe-wide ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050", Dr Braun concludes.
"This commercial scale project will show the path for hydrogen based iron and steel making", commented Stephen C. Montague, President & CEO of Midrex Technologies Inc. "We are excited to work with ArcelorMittal as pioneers for using renewable energy in our industry."