The first plant in Germany for hydrogen-based steel production via the blast furnace route goes into operation in Dillingen. With the investment of 14 million euros, Dillinger and Saarstahl are further reducing their CO2 emissions and creating the conditions for using green hydrogen in practice.
Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, visited the Dillingen site today together with the Saarland Minister-President Tobias Hans and Saarland’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Anke Rehlinger to find out about the plant and the status of the companies in the upcoming transformation process.
Ready for the transformation process
“We are ready for the transformation to green steel!”, Emphasizes the CEO of Dillinger and Saarstahl Tim Hartmann. “This investment underpins: Saarstahl and Dillinger are ready to take the next big steps on the way to the production of green steel.”
In Dillingen, the new plant is the first in Germany to use hydrogen as a reducing agent in the blast furnace in regular operation. This is implemented by injecting hydrogen-rich coke oven gas. “On the basis of this technology we can achieve a further reduction in our CO2 emissions and gain important experience in the use of hydrogen in steel production,” explains Martin Baues, Chief Technology Officer. “With the system, we can use pure hydrogen in both blast furnaces in the next step”.
The use of hydrogen in steel production is a key factor in reducing CO2 emissions. The injection of coke gas is an important step on the way to the production of green steel and the careful use of resources. The CO2 emissions at the blast furnace can be reduced by the hydrogen replacing the carbon as a reducing agent and energy carrier in the blast furnace.
This means that the conditions have already been created today to be able to operate the blast furnaces with green hydrogen within the scope of the technical possibilities. For this, as well as for the complete conversion of our steel production to hydrogen – then based on other technologies such as electric furnaces and direct reduction systems based on hydrogen – it is a prerequisite that green hydrogen will be available on the Saar in sufficient quantities and at competitive conditions in the future.
Responsibility for the future
“Last year, Dillinger and Saarstahl adopted a future-oriented strategy under the motto: offensive, CO2-free, efficient. We also defined the concrete steps for the complete conversion of our production to ‘green steel’, ”continues Tim Hartmann. “We are ready and longingly waiting for the go-ahead from politics. For the next big steps, reliable political framework conditions must be guaranteed in three areas: a fair foreign trade framework, support for the transformation and sufficient green energy at competitive prices. Our ambitious goal is a 40% reduction in CO2 by 2035. The political framework for this must be created this year. The Federal Government’s steel action plan and the ongoing German EU Council Presidency provide the framework for this. Before the end of this year, Berlin and Brussels will swear by the Green Deal. Time’s running!”
Independently of this, the companies are driving further large energy efficiency projects and investing sustainably in the optimization of existing systems. In the last two years, Dillinger and Saarstahl have made environmental investments totaling € 70 million.
Quotes from the Federal Minister of Economics, the Prime Minister of Saarland and the Saarland Minister of Economic Affairs for use by the press:
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier: “Steel must also be produced in Saarland in the future. As Federal Minister of Economics, I am committed to this. The federal government will closely accompany and actively support the steel industry in the transition to climate-friendly steel production. “
Prime Minister Tobias Hans: “Today’s commissioning is an important signal for the Saarland steel location. This makes Saarland a pioneer in climate-friendly steel production. The new coke gas injection is another important step on the way to CO2-neutral steel production. The production of green steel must remain our goal in order to sustainably strengthen the performance and competitiveness of the German steel industry. The federal government and the EU are required to do this. You have to provide the right framework. The Saarland state government will work in Berlin and Brussels for the interests of our steel industry. “
Minister of Economic Affairs Anke Rehlinger: “The innovative technology of the new plant is a groundbreaking step towards future hydrogen-based iron and steel production. Here, resource efficiency and environmental protection go hand in hand. Today is not only a good day for the existentially important steel industry in Saarland. Rather, the path to a sustainable industry is also an important building block in the fight against global climate change. We are advancing as a role model. “