This is made possible by a fundamental technological innovation: In addition to scrap and liquid pig iron, Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) is used. HBI is produced in a direct reduction process in which iron ore is reduced to iron using natural gas rather than coal and coke, resulting in lower CO₂ emissions.
The raw material concept, which is constantly being further developed by voestalpine will also enable the production of green high-tech steels in the future. Steels, such as those already used in the automotive and railway industries.
Progress through innovation
For the development of a process that can be implemented on a large scale to support CO₂-neutral steel production without the use of fossil carbon, voestalpine has received the protective right from the European Patent Office. Specifically, the patent covers the production of sponge iron (DRI or HBI) in a direct reduction process using green hydrogen and biogas.
Direct reduction as a bridging technology
Direct reduction is an important bridging technology for decarbonizing steel production. It reduces iron ore to iron with natural gas, rather than coal and coke, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions. The direct reduction process is used to produce HBI, a sophisticated and environmentally friendly pre-material used in steel production.
The hybrid technology would allow the CO2 emitted during steel production at Linz and Donawitz to be significantly reduced, by around 30%. This represents an annual saving of 3 to 4 million tons of CO2.
The hybrid concept is the basis for achieving the hydrogen-based transformation by 2050.