Another milestone on the course to low CO2 steel production – Federal Minister Svenja Schulze hands over funding approval

04.12.2020 | Press release of Salzgitter AG

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze today handed over the funding approval for the construction of the first direct reduced iron (DRI) plant to be operated flexibly by hydrogen and natural gas. Stephan Weil, Minister President of Lower Saxony, and Frank Klingebiel, Lord Mayor of the City of Salzgitter, also participated in this important event.
As Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann, Chief Executive Officer of Salzgitter AG stated: “The construction of the first DRI plant flexibly fueled by natural gas and hydrogen enables the Salzgitter Group to consolidate its role as a pioneer in the decarbonization of the steel industry. Operating this DRI Plant will allow us to gain the necessary know-how to be able to run production with plants of a greater scale within a few years. Our industry will be able to play an outstanding role in achieving the defined climate targets if policymakers step up the pace in implementing the regulatory and economic policy framework for facilitating the transformation process. In this context, our SALCOS (Salzgitter Low CO2Steelmaking) technology concept is the best offering across all industries and sectors in terms of the balance between investment and specific power consumption geared to realizing CO2 savings.”
Salzgitter Group has created the basis in SALCOS for the virtually CO2 free production of steel by joining forces with its partners from business and research. The key components consist of power generated from renewable sources and harnessed for the production of green hydrogen through electrolysis. In direct reduction plants, this replaces the carbon currently used in the conventional blast furnace process for producing iron from iron ore. The Salzgitter Group has already installed several wind turbines and hydrogen electrolyzers.
The new direct reduction plant is the next step toward realizing SALCOS. The full transformation from conventional to hydrogen-based steel production at Salzgitter AG is to be implemented in various stages by 2050. This will ultimately enable the CO2 generated in the production of steel to be reduced by up to 95%.
The contract for building the DRI plant is to be awarded in the near future; hydrogen production is scheduled to start in the first half of 2022. Initially, the directly reduced iron will be used in the blast furnace process to save on coal used for injection into the blast furnace and in the electric arc furnace of the Peine plant.
Green strip steel achieving a 25% lower CO2 footprint compared with products from conventional production was already being produced in November 2020 at the collaborating Peine and Salzgitter plants.

The presentation of the funding decision in video:

More information:

Salzgitter initiative for reducing CO2 in the steel production of the future