Lingen Opens Pilot Plant for Green Iron Production Using Hydrogen

By August 11, 2023 3   min read  (438 words)

August 11, 2023 |

2023 08 11 09 25 56 e1691761498520

A new pilot plant has been inaugurated in Lingen, aiming to revolutionize the iron production industry by chemically converting iron ore into iron using hydrogen. This novel approach, known as “green” iron production, leverages hydrogen as a reducing agent to produce iron in a climate-neutral manner.

A Groundbreaking Initiative

Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister Christian Meyer (Greens) and Lingen Mayor Dieter Krone (independent) jointly activated the plant by pressing a symbolic red button. This action set in motion the world’s largest direct reduction plant for green iron in a rotary kiln, a first-of-its-kind establishment that utilizes hydrogen for completely climate-neutral iron ore reduction.

Hydrogen’s Role in Iron Production

The plant, a collaborative project between start-up CO2Grab/HyIron, steel manufacturer Benteler, and energy supplier RWE, operates on a groundbreaking principle. It employs a specially developed gas-tight rotary kiln where hydrogen reacts with oxygen in the iron ore, converting it into elemental iron, also known as “Direct Reduced Iron” (DRI). The process is entirely carbon-neutral and produces only water vapor instead of carbon dioxide, representing a monumental shift towards eco-friendly iron production.

The produced water vapor can further be recycled for hydrogen production, adding to the sustainability of the process. Though green hydrogen will be available in Lingen in a few months, the plant will initially use carbon-neutral hydrogen to produce pig iron from iron ore, eventually converting it into steel.

Support and Future Prospects

The project is backed by the state of Lower Saxony with funding of three million euros, demonstrating governmental commitment to sustainable industrial practices. The first industrial-scale production is planned in Namibia, where up to 2 million tons of iron are targeted for production for the German steel industry.

The pilot plant in Lingen represents a vital step for CO2GRAB / HyIron in advancing the “green iron” product to market maturity and expanding the German technology globally.

A Critical Move Towards Decarbonization

The decarbonization of the steel industry is a pressing concern in the global fight against climate change. Traditionally, iron production using coking coal or natural gas has been a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, accounting for approximately six percent of the country’s total emissions.

The inauguration of this plant in Lingen signals a monumental step towards confronting this challenge, offering the possibility to implement this innovative technology on an extensive industrial scale.

Main Image caption: Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister Christian Meyer (l) and Lingen’s Mayor Dieter Krone at the commissioning of the hydrogen direct reduction plant. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa (Photo: dpa)



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