Looking to the future: steel plants powered by hydrogen
Thinking about tomorrow today. A principle that can be applied to many areas of life. At ArcelorMittal, looking to the future means getting to grips with innovation, planning investments and estimating operating costs – all with the idea of successfully implementing energy transformation. To develop possible scenarios, ArcelorMittal is planning a joint research project, WiSaNo (wind and steel from northern Germany), together with the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg).
The starting point for this project is the planned hydrogen-based steel production. Implementation will require large amounts of energy and the greatest expansion of renewable energies is possible in the Baltic and North Sea area, from offshore wind farms. An innovative unit consisting of a wind farm and steel plant has huge potential. And it will create multiple opportunities for the structurally weak north.
An initial preliminary investigation is intended to consider various options for producing a million tons of steel per year. An estimate of the required wind farm size, as well as investment and steel production costs, should be determined for each option. One option is, for example, a wind farm with a reduction plant near the coast, coupled with a steelworks at an existing location. Pig iron in the form of hot briquetted iron will be transported by train or ship to Germany, where the existing infrastructure can be used, thereby avoiding additional investment. Another option would be to build a wind farm and steel plant right next to the coast. Steel produced in this way is virtually free of CO2emissions, but construction would require a great amount of investment. It is already clear that every scenario has certain advantages and disadvantages. A total of five options are to be investigated by late summer 2020.
If subsequent funding is forthcoming, the second project phase will follow. The focus will then be on the intensive examination of the relationship between wind farm and steel plant and the development of detailed simulation models. ArcelorMittal sees this research project as a great opportunity. The results can significantly improve future planning. The project application is currently being reviewed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.