The Elements of Innovation Discovered

EU steel made with green hydrogen

Metal Tech News - June 5, 2024

The trend towards increased sustainability within the steelmaking process, "green steel" practices are catching on around the world.

Under a pioneering memorandum of understanding, Lhyfe will install a green hydrogen production unit at Ugitech's plant in Ugine, France, capable of generating around 13 tons of hydrogen per day. This comes at a time when "green steel" practices are making headlines around the world, from Boston Metal's molten electrolysis to Rio Tinto's latest BioIron process using biomass.

Under the banner of one of the world's largest producers, processors, and distributors of long special steel products – Swiss Steel Group – Ugitech is one of many offshoots that specializes in the various steel formats available on the market.

Lhyfe, which is signing this first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding with a steel manufacturer, already has three production sites and is currently building several more in Europe.

The hydrogen will fuel the steel plant's furnaces and heating equipment supplied via pipeline with a capacity of up to twelve metric tons per day (a maximum electrolysis capacity of 30 megawatts), with the excess further fueling clean transportation in the region, supplied to local mobility and industry players to help develop the local hydrogen ecosystem.

Pollution being reduced from energy-heavy steel production promises major benefits to local communities and progress toward the global push for a clean energy transition.

The steel industry is a significant source of pollution, responsible for roughly 8% of global CO2 emissions. By switching to green hydrogen, the Ugitech plant would reduce over 17,000 tons of greenhouse gasses annually from this one facility.

As the global steel industry sees a wider array of companies like Ugitech take the necessary steps toward greener manufacturing processes, the idea is catching – producing 220,000 tons of steel each year, the Ugine plant also finds itself setting a positive example of sustainability in the heart of the 2030 Winter Olympics zone.

"The steel sector is a major consumer of fossil fuels and is one of the industrial sectors that should be decarbonized as a priority," said Philippe Desorme, vice chief executive officer at Lhyfe. "The energy transition is going to become increasingly necessary to ensure the long-term survival of our industries, and green hydrogen is emerging as one of the pillars of this transition."

Frédéric Perret, director of development at Ugitech, announced the company is running a multiyear "Hydreams" project to validate that "hydrogen combustion will have no negative impact on processes and products" in steelmaking.

The two companies will be conducting a feasibility study before moving forward on the hydrogen plant's construction and financing.

"The next step is to roll out this new solution to all systems for which direct electrification is not a compatible option," he said. "This is the purpose of this [memorandum of understanding] with Lhyfe."


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