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

The H2FUTURE hydrogen pilot facility is located at the voestalpine site in Linz. The project is exploring the industrial-scale production of green hydrogen and its potential applications in the various stages of steel production, as well as in other industrial sectors. The electrolyzer has a capacity of over 6 megawatts. H2FUTURE has successfully started operating, and the facility is already producing green hydrogen.

  • Hydrogen pilot facility which is examining the manufacture and exploitation of “green” hydrogen on an industrial scale
  • The facility has successfully started operating
  • Sufficient renewable energy at competitive prices is a precondition for implementation on an industrial scale
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SuSteel Donawitz
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


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)

Underground Sun Storage 2030

Research facility Rubensdorf
Research facility Rubensdorf, Copyright: RAG Austria AG

Together with partners from industry and science, voestalpine is researching into the seasonal, underground storage of large volumes of green hydrogen as part of the Underground Sun Storage 2030 project led by RAG Austria. During the summer months, electrolysis is used to convert solar energy into pure hydrogen in a climate neutral process, with the hydrogen subsequently stored in former natural gas reservoirs for the winter months. A research facility will be built at a former natural gas reservoir in Gampern (Upper Austria) where the relevant testing will be conducted to 2025. voestalpine is also extensively investigating the possible uses for the stored hydrogen in energy-intensive industrial processes. This unique project, the only one of its kind in the world, is receiving funding as part of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund’s energy research program.

  • Electrolysis is used to convert solar energy into pure hydrogen
  • Storage in former natural gas reservoirs for the winter months
  • Planned construction of a research facility at a former natural gas reservoir in Gampern (Upper Austria)
  • Investigation of the possible uses in energy-intensive industrial processes
  • WIVA P&G funded research project
Read more (German only)
Project Website

Carbon Cycle Economy Demonstration (C-CED)

Copyright: RAG / Karin Lohberger Photography

The â€žCarbon Cycle Economy Demonstration“ (C-CED) project is looking into creating a carbon cycle. CO2 generated in voestalpine industrial plants (which is present in the waste gas streams in varying concentrations) will be captured. Concentrated, compressed CO2 is pumped together with sustainably produced hydrogen into natural underground storage sites whose original natural gas content has been depleted. At a depth of about 800 meters, microorganisms indigenous to the site, known as archaea, combine the two gases to produce green methane, the main component of natural gas. This methanation process can take about four weeks. Additional source materials can be pumped in during this process. Like natural gas, the sustainably produced methane is extracted when needed and can be used in industrial processes or to produce electricity. CO2 is again generated and the cycle begins anew.

  • CO2 from industrial processes is captured
  • CO2 is stored together with sustainably produced hydrogen in natural underground storage sites
  • Microbiological processes produce green methane gas
  • The methane is used for industrial processes or to produce electric power

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