Salzgitter AG agrees feasibility study for the direct reduction of iron ore

by Hans Diederichs

On June 24, 2020, Salzgitter AG reached an agreement with the Federal State of Lower Saxony, the City of Wilhelmshaven and the industrial partners Rhenus and Uniper to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant with an upstream hydrogen electrolyzer at the deepwater port of Wilhelmshaven in Lower Saxony.

The study includes potentially building a DRI plant and developing the necessary infrastructure for supplying it with raw materials, natural gas and hydrogen. The results are to be available by March 31, 2021 at the latest.

Salzgitter AG’s CEO Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann: “This is another concrete step in our process of evolving toward low CO2, hydrogen-based steel production underpinned by our prestigious SALCOS® (SAlzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) technology concept. Once this step has been realized, we will be making a decisive contribution to achieving the climate targets. The recently approved National hydrogen strategy and the German government’s strategic concept for steel from the start of March is capable to set important foundations and framework conditions in place for the realization of a ground-breaking green steel hydrogen project of this kind. Together with our local industrial partners, the Wilhelmshaven site offers very favourable preconditions for an optimal sector coupling of renewable energies for hydrogen electrolysis and the low CO2 direct reduction of iron ore.”

Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economic Affairs, Labor, Transport and Digitalization and the Vice Minister President of Lower Saxony: “The Federal State of Lower Saxony offers the ideal site conditions for producing green hydrogen. In SALCOS®, Salzgitter AG has a directly implementable and highly efficient concept for harnessing this hydrogen on an industrial scale to the greatest benefit of climate protection. We are laying the first important milestones for the decarbonization of Germany’s steel industry through this project. The region of Wilhelmshaven will derive valuable opportunities from this collaboration for the necessary industrial realignment and further development of the region, combined with securing and creating new jobs”.

If the findings of the feasibility study are successful, follow-up activities in the form of joint implementation of the project have been planned for. The target envisaged is to produce two million directly reduced iron castings per year that will be transported by rail to Salzgitter and processed there into high-grade, environmentally compatible strip steel products in Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH’s integrated steelworks.

Source and photo: Salzgitter AG

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