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Major challenges in the European steel industry

The technological transition to green production faces the entire European steel industry with major challenges. voestalpine, Austria’s only producer of crude steel and a global pioneer in environmental protection, has drawn up an ambitious phased plan for green steel production—greentec steel.

In a first step - starting in 2027 - the existing blast furnace route will be partially replaced by a hybrid electric steel route, and subsequently the use of green hydrogen in the steelmaking process will be successively increased to enable CO2-neutral steel production by 2050.

Significant CO2 reduction as of 2027

At the beginning of 2027, one electric arc furnace each will go into operation in Linz and Donawitz. As a result of this technology conversion, CO2 emissions can already be significantly reduced by around 30% from this date. This corresponds to a saving of almost 4 million tons of CO2 per year – almost 5% of Austria’s entire annual CO2 emissions, making greentec steel the country’s largest climate protection program.

voestalpine CEO Herbert Eibensteiner

Politicians have set ambitious goals for reducing CO2 emissions. greentec steel allows voestalpine to be part of the solution, and to contribute to achieving the climate goals.

voestalpine CEO Herbert Eibensteiner

Preliminary work started

In order to meet the schedule for commissioning the new electric arc furnaces at the beginning of 2027, we already started at the two sites in Linz and Donawitz with clearing the necessary construction sites and on the infrastructural modifications. The exact start of implementation depends on clarifying unresolved funding issues in Austria. The graphics below provide an overview of the planned changes.

Steel for a sustainable society

In addition to the question of how steel will be produced in the long term, the focus must also be on what contribution the material is already making to sustainability today. Steel makes a significant contribution to a low-carbon future in our society: In lightweight automotive construction, power plant turbines and renewable energies such as wind power, high-tech steel saves six times as much energy - and therefore COâ‚‚ - as is generated in its production.

Steel is one of the most widely used materials in the world and a sustainable society would be inconceivable without it. Steel is recyclable and durable without any loss of quality. When steel can no longer be produced in Austria, the material has to be imported from countries whose environmental regulations are far below those of Austria or the EU.

Learn more about the framework conditions here.

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