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voestalpine AG
H2FUTURE: Research facility generates valuable findings

H2FUTURE: Research facility generates valuable findings

voestalpine’s H2FUTURE project is investigating whether green hydrogen produced on an industrial scale can replace fossil fuels such as coal and coke in steel production over the long term. The electrolysis facility at the plant in Linz is generating important research findings for our future steel production.

voestalpine H2FUTURE, production of hydrogen with electricity
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greentec steel is our ambitious and feasible phased plan with which voestalpine can make a valuable contribution to achieving the climate goals. In the first step starting in 2027, the Group plans to replace two blast furnaces with two electric arc furnaces (EAFs). From 2030, the plan is to replace two more blast furnaces in Linz and Donawitz, and invest in an additional EAF in Linz. The Group is already researching several new processes to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and investing in pilot projects which explore new pathways in steel production. They include the H2FUTURE hydrogen pilot facility at the site in Linz.

The facility’s high-tech core consists of 12 stacks, each comprising 50 electrolysis cells. With an output of six megawatts, the facility produces 1,200 m3 of green hydrogen an hour.
Electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by applying voltage to the electrodes in the electrolysis cells. The water is reduced to oxygen, hydrogen ions, and two electrons at the anode. The hydrogen ions then pass through a permeable membrane and are transformed into hydrogen with the addition of electrons at the cathode.

Simulations & stress tests

With the commissioning of what is currently the world’s largest pilot facility for the carbon-neutral production of hydrogen in late 2019, we have set an international milestone in the advancement of new energy supply options. Several hundred tons of green hydrogen have been produced since the start of the test phase and a range of different test programs completed. For example, a stress test proved the facility’s continuous operation capability and its ability to quickly respond to massive load changes. A variety of scenarios were simulated to compensate for frequency fluctuations in the power grid. Such fluctuations arise either from the irregular availability of renewable energy sources or due to different power requirements. This applies to both the external power grid and our internal network.

The next task is to enhance the purity and pressure of the hydrogen produced so that it can be supplied for use in a variety of applications. To do so, the hydrogen pilot facility is being used in a series of different research projects, such as the ZEUS CCU project.

We have been in discussions with our project partners for some time now to determine how to carry on with the project. Here at voestalpine, we are keen to continue.

Hermann W.
Project Leader
Our focus on greentec steel

Within the framework of our focus greentec steel, we provide an overview of our concrete steps on the way towards long-term CO2-neutral steel production and the innovative processes we are using on this way. We provide information about the challenges we face and the breakthrough technologies we are already researching today in order to achieve our goal of CO2-neutral steel production by 2050.

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voestalpine AG

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Die voestalpine ist ein weltweit führender Stahl- und Technologiekonzern mit kombinierter Werkstoff- und Verarbeitungskompetenz. Die global tätige Unternehmensgruppe verfügt über rund 500 Konzerngesellschaften und -standorte in mehr als 50 Ländern auf allen fünf Kontinenten. Sie notiert seit 1995 an der Wiener Börse. Mit ihren Premium-Produkt- und Systemlösungen zählt sie zu den führenden Partnern der Automobil- und Hausgeräteindustrie sowie der Luftfahrt- und Öl- & Gasindustrie und ist darüber hinaus Weltmarktführer bei Bahninfrastruktursystemen, bei Werkzeugstahl und Spezialprofilen. Die voestalpine bekennt sich zu den globalen Klimazielen und verfolgt mit greentec steel einen klaren Plan zur Dekarbonisierung der Stahlproduktion.