Voestalpine researching into hydrogen plasma for green steel production

by David Fleschen

Voestalpine is striving to produce carbon neutral steel by 2050, in accordance with the European climate goals. The global Group is already working hard to develop highly innovative technologies and production processes with “greentec steel”, its ambitious phased plan. As part of the “sustainable steelmaking” (SuSteel) research project, the company will investigate the use of hydrogen plasma in a carbon neutral steel production process, in a new pilot facility at the voestalpine site in Donawitz. voestalpine is currently the world’s only steel manufacturer conducting research into the use of hydrogen plasma in steelmaking.

At the new pilot facility, which commenced operation in Donawitz in 2021, research is being conducted into the use of hydrogen plasma for the carbon-free manufacture of crude steel in a single process step. Conventional steel production uses coke, coal, or natural gas as a reducing agent for ores. The SuSteel project replaces these with hydrogen. Hydrogen plasma is used to simultaneously reduce iron ore and smelt it into crude steel in a special direct current electric arc furnace. The advantage of using green electricity and hydrogen as the reducing agent is that water vapor is the only end product, completely avoiding carbon dioxide emissions.

Source and Photo: Voestalpine

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