The green transformation of the steel industry
The climate is changing. We have understood that we need to act and change the way we used to live, consume and produce. Particularly in industrial production, there needs to be a shift towards sustainability. The steel industry is one of Germany's biggest CO2 emitters. To change this, our colleagues at thyssenkrupp Steel are working continuously to make steel production climate-neutral. A major challenge, because the green transformation requires many different levers.
Reduce emissions – that is the mission
thyssenkrupp Steel has already achieved a great deal on the way to climate neutrality in recent years. But the green transformation is not yet complete. To achieve their goal, the colleagues have made fundamental technological changes. Our colleagues from thyssenkrupp Steel are pursuing a combined approach with the reuse of resources and accrued CO2 on the one hand and direct CO2 avoidance on the other. Both contribute to reducing emissions at the largest steel mill in Europe in the medium and long term.
Recycling of emissions with Carbon2Chem
Additionally, our colleagues are focusing on using the CO2 produced ("Carbon Capture and Usage", CCU) and reusing resources. With Carbon2Chem technologies, metallurgical gases from Duisburg can be captured and split the CO2 they contain into its chemical components. These can then be used as feedstocks for producing ammonia and methanol for the production of fertilizers and fuels. The process is expected to be applicable on a large industrial scale in 2030.
bluemint® Steel – an important milestone
Another important step towards climate-friendly steel is the launch of the first product with reduced CO2 intensity. With bluemint® Steel, colleagues have developed a product based on CO2 savings in production with a reduced CO2 footprint of up to 70 percent compared with conventional steel. With bluemint® Steel, alternative iron carriers are used in the blast furnace. This requires less coal for the reduction work in the blast furnace, reduces the amount of coal used and as a result produces fewer climate-damaging greenhouse gases. In this way, the CO2 intensity per ton produced can be reduced from 2.1 tons to as little as 0.6 tons.
The advantages of bluemint® Steel at a glance:
around 1.5 metric tons (70 percent) of reduced CO2 emissions (bluemint® pure)
around 1.35 metric tons (64 percent) of reduced CO2 emissions (bluemint® recycled)
CO2 is reduced directly at the Duisburg site
Certificates for the respective product
Primary steel, all grades can be represented
Directly creditable to our customers' Scope 3 emissions
In the long term, however, the avoidance of CO2 through the use of green hydrogen is the decisive step in making the steel industry more environmentally friendly.
By replacing the blast furnaces in the production process with direct reduction plants in which the iron ores are reduced with hydrogen rather than coal, i.e. by removing the oxygen, thyssenkrupp Steel will no longer produce CO2 but only water vapor. Until then, a lot has to happen. In Europe the hydrogen infrastructure and renewable energy capacities need to be expanded to meet the industry's future needs.
Efficient direct reduction plants
A central issue in direct reduction plants is how the hydrogen is injected so that it reacts effectively with the oxygen in the iron ore to prevent the formation of CO2. The reduction process is to be investigated in the planned 20-meter high DR test plant in Duisburg using state-of-the-art measuring technology, with each material stream and each grade of iron ore used being monitored.
Outlook and mission
With this variety of technological innovations and levers, the aim is to make steel production climate-neutral. With these various efforts, our colleagues are driving forward emission reductions in steel and assuming social responsibility. This is a clear commitment to the Paris climate protection agreement of 2015.