The voestalpine scenario for achieving our climate targets envisages step-by-step decarbonisation through the long-term vision of hydrogen utilisation. The three main pillars of the concept are:
Direct reduction as transitional technology
At our direct reduction plant in Texas, USA, which started operation in the autumn of 2016, HBI (hot briquetted iron)/DRI (direct reduced iron) is produced using natural gas instead of coal/coke. The use of HBI in the existing blast furnaces in Linz and Donauwitz will enable group-wide CO2 reduction by as much as 5%. Following that, natural gas can be gradually replaced as the reducing agent in the long term by "green hydrogen".
Renewable energy generation - "Green Hydrogen"
As part of the EU flagship project H2FUTURE, a trial plant for testing out PEM (proton exchange membrane) electrolysis technology together with collaboration partners has started operation at the Linz site. It is currently the world's largest electrolysis plant for green hydrogen generation.
Hydrogen - The Technology of the Future
In the SuSteel (sustainable steel-making) trial plant at the Donauwitz site, research into smelting reduction of iron ore using hydrogen plasma instead of the present blast furnace/LD steelworks process is being carried out. The direct production of steel from iron oxides without intermediate stages is the most visionary concept of the research. The aim is the development of a new type of hydrogen plasma technology for CO2-free and, therefore, more sustainable production of steel. The intention is to use hydrogen plasma both for reducing the oxides and as the energy source for smelting.