voestalpine is gradually moving towards the decarbonization of its steel production. The first pillar in this transformation process has already taken shape with the HBI plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.
1. Direct reduction in Texas
In the HBI plant at voestalpine Texas LLC, iron oxide is reduced to iron, not with coal and coke but using natural gas. This allows voestalpine to reduce its CO2 emissions across the Group up to 5%.
The plant in Corpus Christi is designed so that in future the “fossil” hydrogen contained in natural gas can be gradually replaced with “green” hydrogen. That makes direct reduction an important bridging technology for the decarbonization of steel production.
2. Hydrogen electrolysis in Linz
The first PEM electrolysis plant for producing green hydrogen from electricity and water is being constructed not in Corpus Christi, but at the voestalpine site in Linz. As part of the H2FUTURE project, here voestalpine is researching, together with is project partners, into potential applications for hydrogen in the various process stages of steel production to create the basis for the long-term development of breakthrough technologies.
3. Hydrogen plasma smelting reduction in Donawitz
In a testing plant at the site in Donawitz, voestalpine is researching into the actual breakthrough technology for CO2-free steel production: the direct and continuous production of crude steel using hydrogen plasma to reduce iron ore fines.
By using hydrogen plasma to reduce iron ore fines, steel is formed in a type of electric arc furnace without going through the crude steel stage. The project is titled Sustainable Steel (SuSteel). It is intended that the process should develop in several stages, from its current scale in grams, then kilos, to finally achieve industrial scale-production over the long term.