Another key components on the road to low-CO2 steel production

17.05.2021 | Press release of Salzgitter AG

Salzgitter AG is now taking another major step on the road to low-CO2 steel production: As part of the SALCOS – SAlzgitter Low-CO2Steelmaking project, today’s ground-breaking ceremony marks the commencement of work on μDRAL, a demonstration plant for the production of direct reduced iron (DRI). This is the first iron ore direct reduction plant designed to operate flexibly with natural gas and hydrogen.
Production will commence in the first half of 2022. The direct reduced iron will initially be used in the blast furnace to reduce the amount of pulverized injection coal, as well as in the electric arc furnace at the Peine plant. The plant has a production capacity of 2500 kg/d and can be operated flexibly with variable proportions of natural gas and hydrogen (0 – 100 %). Tenova, an international manufacturer of plant and equipment for the metal and mining industries, is the supplier and technology partner.
Building the new direct reduction plant is the next step towards the realization of SALCOS®. The shift in steelmaking at Salzgitter AG to hydrogen-based processes is expected to be completed in several stages by 2050 at the latest. By then, the output of CO2 in steel production will have been reduced by up to 95 %.
As Salzgitter AG Executive Board Chairman Professor Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann commented: “With the construction of the first DRI plant operating flexibly with both natural gas and hydrogen, the Salzgitter Group is consolidating its position as a pioneer in decarbonizing the steel industry. The operation of this plant will enable us within a few years to acquire the requisite knowledge to step up production on a far greater scale. Our industry will then play an outstanding role in achieving the climate goals that have been set, provided that politicians act promptly to implement the necessary economic policy framework for the transformation process. In this context, our technology concept represents the best offer in any industry or sector in terms of the ratio between investment and specific electricity consumption relative to the achievable CO2 savings.”
The Salzgitter Group is investing € 13.6 million in the new plant. The German Federal Environment Ministry is supporting the project with a 40% funding share. Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister of the Environment, presented the official confirmation in person in December 2020. Stephan Weil, Minister President of Lower Saxony Weil and Salzgitter City Mayor Frank Klingebiel also took part in the event.