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“Green” hydrogen is the hope for the future of decarbonization

The EU-funded H2FUTURE project is researching into whether green hydrogen produced on an industrial scale can replace fossil fuels in steel production over the long term. To this end, what is currently the largest pilot facility for the production of hydrogen in the steel industry has been built at the voestalpine site in Linz. The project partners are VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET, and TNO. The electrolyzer has a capacity of over 6 megawatts and is regarded as the most effective and advanced facility of its type. It will be used to test whether the technology deployed to produce green hydrogen is suitable for use on an industrial scale.

  • The most effective and advanced electrolyzer (PEM technology) for the carbon-neutral generation of green hydrogen in the steel industry & demonstration project for industrial scale production
  • Sufficient renewable energy at competitive prices is a precondition for implementation on an industrial scale
  • Commissioned 2019
  • Test programs are running successfully


At the heart of the SuSteel project is an innovative hydrogen plasma technology

A testing facility is currently being established at the Donawitz site in Styria as part of the SuSteel (Sustainable Steelmaking) project. Here research will be undertaken into the carbon-neutral production of crude steel in a single process step using a novel hydrogen plasma technology. In future, the facility will operate a type of electric arc furnace to produce steel directly, avoiding the crude steel stage by using hydrogen plasma to reduce ores.  The advantage is that climate-neutral water vapor is the only end product, allowing CO2 emissions to be avoided completely. This basic research project being run by the K1-MET metallurgy competence center has a very long-term implementation timeframe. The project involves voestalpine Stahl GmbH, voestalpine Stahl Donawitz GmbH, and the Montanuniversität Leoben.

  • Reduction of ores using novel hydrogen plasma technology
  • CO2 emissions could be completely avoided
  • Basic research project
  • Testing plant at the site in Donawitz currently in the commissioning phase; start of testing program: Q2


The Hyfor research project, involving Primetals Technologies, voestalpine Stahl Donawitz GmbH, the Montanuniversität Leoben, and K1-MET, is also based at the site in Donawitz. The project is building a pilot plant to reduce iron ore in a fluid state using hydrogen. In an industrial-scale plant, the resulting hot sponge iron would then be fed into an electric arc furnace, or used to produce hot briquetted iron (HBI). The research project is designed to establish the base data for later conversion to an industrial plant. 

  • Using hydrogen to reduce iron ore
  • FFG & COMET-funded research project
  • Construction & commissioning of the pilot facility at the Donawitz site planned for 2021  
  • Objective: Base data for later conversion to an industrial plant

Pyrolysis of natural gas

As part of an industrial consortium headed by RAG Austria, the Steel Division is helping the Montanuniversität Leoben to evaluate technologies used in the so-called pyrolysis of natural gas. This process splits methane, the primary component of natural gas, into hydrogen and solid carbon, and is a method of generating hydrogen without producing carbon dioxide. At the same time, the residual carbon is a valuable industrial raw material which can be processed for use in products such as electrodes in Li-ion batteries or electric arc furnaces.

  • Evaluation of technologies for pyrolysis: splitting methane, primary component of natural gas, into hydrogen and solid carbon
  • Enables the carbon-neutral generation of hydrogen
  • Carbon = industrial raw material (e.g., for electrodes in Li-ion batteries or producing electrical steel)
  • Montanuniversität Leoben is currently analyzing the existing processes in their testing facilities
  • The results will be used to select one technology & decide on construction of own demonstration facility (Project duration: 2022-2027)

greentec steel steht für den hohen Qualitäts- und Technologieanspruch der voestalpine und ihren Fokus auf Nachhaltigkeit: Denn auch der „grüne“ Stahl wird höchste Qualitätsanforderungen erfüllen und Kunden technologisch maßgeschneiderte Lösungen bieten. Gleichzeitig leistet voestalpine sowohl mit ihren Forschungsaktivtäten, Technologien und Innovationen – als auch Stahl als wichtigen Bestandteil einer nachhaltigen Welt – langfristig einen wesentlichen Beitrag zur Erreichung der Klimaziele.

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