On Wednesday, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck, in collaboration with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, presented a grant of €2 billion for the partial conversion of Europe’s largest steelworks to green hydrogen-based processes.
The project has received approval from the EU Commission, paving the way for state aid. The ambitious plan aims to save up to 3.5 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, making it a crucial step towards a sustainable, climate-neutral future.
The Greens-led Ministry of Economic Affairs envisions a transformative shift in steel production. The €2 billion grant will enable the partial conversion of the massive steelworks to utilize green hydrogen as a key component in the production process. With investments totaling almost €3 billion, the plan seeks to leverage the power of green hydrogen to produce up to 2.3 million tons of pig iron annually in a climate-neutral manner. This transformation is expected to use 140,000 tons of green hydrogen, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
The project’s significance extends beyond the steelworks itself. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia is contributing €700 million, and an additional €1.3 billion is allocated from the federal government. Federal Minister Habeck emphasized the creation of a showcase project that could potentially set a precedent for other companies in the industry to follow suit. The successful implementation of this initiative may pave the way for further political and financial support for similar projects in the future.
The transformation of steel production processes to rely on green hydrogen offers immense environmental benefits. The shift is expected to save as much CO2 emissions as approximately 160,000 households would typically emit. By replacing conventional carbon-intensive methods with climate-friendly hydrogen-based processes, the steel industry can play a pivotal role in combating climate change and reducing its carbon footprint.
The head of thyssenkrupp’s steel division, Bernhard Osburg, expressed enthusiasm for the project, highlighting the importance of swiftly implementing the new direct reduction plant. This project could serve as a blueprint for other steel manufacturers to adopt hydrogen-based processes, fostering industry-wide transformation. As the steel industry sets a precedent, it can inspire other sectors to explore innovative and sustainable approaches to reduce their carbon emissions.
The €2 billion investment in transitioning Europe’s largest steelworks to green hydrogen-based production marks a significant milestone in the battle against climate change. By embracing clean and sustainable technologies, the steel industry is taking a momentous step towards a climate-neutral future. The project showcases the potential of green hydrogen to revolutionize energy-intensive sectors and provides hope for a greener, more sustainable world.