From 2027, a new electric arc furnace in Donawitz will significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from steel production. Green electricity is essential for the successful start of production.
By 2027 we should be ready. As part of decarbonizing our steel production as laid out in our greentec steel strategy, one blast furnace in Donawitz will be replaced by an electric arc furnace (EAF). The exact start of implementation depends on the clarification of unresolved funding issues and the expansion of the power grid.
What is greentec steel?
greentec steel is our ambitious phased plan for green steel production. We have already made huge investments in protecting the environment and climate in the past decades. We want to be carbon-neutral by 2050. The first step to achieving this goal is to convert the traditional blast furnace process in Linz and Donawitz to a hybrid route using electric arc furnaces. We are also conducting research into other novel processes, such as the SuSteel project in Donawitz for carbon-neutral steel production using hydrogen plasma to convert iron ore in a single step.
CO2 savings of 30%
The first step of transforming the site into a hybrid steel plant that uses both electric and blast furnace steel production routes will make a significant contribution to achieving the global climate goals. Together with the planned EAF in Linz, the EAF in Donawitz will reduce our current CO2 emissions by around 30%. This corresponds to savings of almost 4 million tons of CO2 per year—nearly 5% of Austria’s annual CO2 emissions. A further blast furnace will be replaced with an EAF in 2032 or 2033. Unlike the current two-stage blast furnace route, in which the liquid pig iron produced in the blast furnace is subsequently processed into crude steel in the steel plant, an EAF uses green electricity to produce crude steel in a single step.
Additional electricity required
Producing steel in an EAF using electricity requires temperatures of around 1,500°C and more than 100 MW of power—roughly the output of an average Danube power plant. Currently, part of the required electricity is generated from the smelter gases originating in the blast furnace and steel plant, as well as being sourced from hydropower plants. As the blast furnaces are replaced, green electricity will take the place of smelter gases. Therefore, much needs to be done to secure sufficient power supplies generated by renewables prior to the implementation and completion of the EAF project in 2027.
Expanding in-house generation of green electricity
We are taking active measures to further expand our renewable energy generation in order to meet future demand for green electricity. These include installing more photovoltaic systems. We are also developing wind turbines, hydropower plants, and further PV installations together with regional partners, and have already concluded supply contracts with local wind and hydropower plants. A key prerequisite for transforming our steel production is the availability of green electricity at competitive prices. The planned projects to expand renewable power generation in the region will play a major role here.
"Together with regional partners we are taking numerous measures to optimally exploit our potential to generate renewable energy. "
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