Our path to a green future 4 minutes spent reading
greentec steel

Our path to a green future

Volkmar Held
As a freelance writer, Volkmar Held reports for voestalpine on topics that move people. The content of his stories ranges from archaeometallurgy to future technologies.

We are upping the pace of emissions reduction. greentec steel from voestalpine is Austria’s largest climate protection program. Starting in 2027, this program will reduce Austria’s annual CO2 emissions by almost 5%. 2024 marks the start of the partial shift from the blast furnace to the electric arc furnace (EAF) route—once unresolved funding issues in Austria are clarified.

Largest climate protection program

Decarbonizing steel production is an important part of climate protection. For that reason, in April 2023, the voestalpine Supervisory Board approved a further EUR 1.5 billion for the conversion at its Austrian steel production sites. This allows construction in Donawitz and Linz to start in 2024. Commissioning the EAF during the hybrid phase of greentec steel would avoid around 3 to 4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year starting in 2027. Reducing Austria’s annual emissions by almost 5% makes greentec steel the country’s largest climate protection program.


The greentec steel campaign brand bundles our decarbonization strategy activities under a simple and easily understandable term and communicates voestalpine’s focus on sustainability and technology.

Hybrid technology is the first step

However, only a radical technological transformation will allow us to significantly reduce CO2 emissions further.

“We have developed an ambitious phased plan for decarbonizing steel production in the form of greentec steel, and this will allow us to play our part in achieving the climate goals,” says Herbert Eibensteiner, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG.

Specifically, we are gradually converting from the coal-based blast furnace route to a electric steel route powered by green electricity. In addition to scrap, the main input materials are liquid pig iron and hot briquetted iron (HBI) produced in a direct reduction plant. This direct reduction is a key bridging technology for decarbonizing steel production. It uses natural gas instead of coal and coke to reduce iron ore to iron, which reduces CO2 emissions. This hybrid technology could significantly reduce CO2 emissions from steel production in Linz and Donawitz by around 30%. As of 2030, voestalpine plans to replace another blast furnace at each of the sites in Linz and Donawitz.


Technology transition in sight

In the long term, we plan to gradually increase the use of green electricity to achieve carbon-neutral steel production by 2050. We have been researching the necessary technologies for many years, e.g., at the pilot facility for producing green hydrogen at the Linz site. Here, research is being undertaken into producing green hydrogen on an industrial scale, and its possible application in the various stages of steel production.

At the same time, our scientists in Donawitz are researching a technology for the direct production of steel from iron ore as part of the “SuSteel” (Sustainable Steel) project, and a hydrogen-based fine-ore reduction (Hyfor) process in another project.


The hybrid technology would allow the CO2 emitted during steel production at Linz and Donawitz (photo) to be significantly reduced, by around 30%.

Necessary framework conditions

But one thing is already certain today: the basic prerequisite for switching to hydrogen-based steelmaking is the availability of sufficient quantities of green electricity at commercially realistic prices.

“The right framework conditions are needed if tomorrow’s technologies can be operated in a truly competitive manner,” Herbert Eibensteiner adds. Successful decarbonization depends upon an overall policy framework that unites climate, energy, and economic concerns, and establishes a clear political commitment to a competitive steel industry.

greentec steel—the brand

The greentec steel campaign brand has been designed as the umbrella under which this comprehensive decarbonization strategy to meet the EU’s climate goals will be communicated. It brings together all voestalpine activities & innovations leading to carbon neutral steel production by 2050.

greentec steel Logo voestalpine

As an international group, we face a wide range of issues and target groups, and the challenges related to reducing our CO2 emissions will accompany us for decades. The greentec steel brand will help us communicate our messages clearly, transparently, and recognizably to our various target groups: customers and policy makers, shareholders, the media, employees, and the general public.

Volkmar Held