First test in the world using a 30% natural gas/hydrogen blend in steel forging

Image: Snam

The world’s first test of a 30% natural gas/hydrogen blend in the forging operations used in industrial steelmaking took place at the Forgiatura A. Vienna factory in Rho (province of Milan).

The trial, which comprised using the hydrogen/gas mixture to heat the furnaces at the Forgiatura A. Vienna factory, was successfully completed on site following a year-long series of investigations and laboratory testing. Snam, one of the world’s top energy infrastructure businesses, was the project’s developer and promoter; RINA, an international inspection, certification, and engineering consultant, handled the engineering studies and laboratory phase; and GIVA Group, a global leader in steelmaking, provided Forgiatura Vienna for the field test. Sapio, an Italian company specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of industrial and medical gases, supplied the methane and hydrogen blend.

In the medium to long term, hydrogen is in a position to become the solution for decarbonising steelmaking as well as all hard-to-abate industrial sectors that have a fundamental role in our economyThis trial is a preparatory step to the gradual introduction of zero-emission hydrogen, initially blended with natural gas and then in pure form, in certain steelmaking production processes. Snam intends to make its infrastructure, research and expertise available to contribute to the creation of a national hydrogen supply chain and to the achievement of domestic and European climate targets.”

Marco Alverà CEO of Snam.

This test is the concrete proof that Italy’s hydrogen production chain can significantly contribute to decarbonising complex and energy-intensive industries such as steelmaking. At Rina we are proud to play an active role in the ongoing energy transition, more specifically in such events where we can share our energy and industrial know-how.”

Ugo Salerno, Chairman and CEO of Rina.

Hydrogen can be a great ally to our Group. On one side, increasingly stringent measures on CO 2 emissions coupled with our willingness to reduce the environmental impact from our production processes, move us towards finding a solution. On the other, the use of hydrogen could create a driving market for valves and actuators produced by Group’s subsidiaries. This project only marks the beginning of a path we will be involved in for years to come.”

Jacopo Longhi Vienna, from the Giva Group.

The use of hydrogen and natural gas as a blend did not require any adjustments to the plant and had no effect on the equipment utilized (industrial burners) or on the final heat-treated product’s qualities.

The project has considerable potential for environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness. The permanent use of a 30% green hydrogen blend fueled by renewable energy on the total gas consumed by the three GIVA Group steel forging factories for industrial operations is anticipated to result in a considerable decrease in CO 2 emissions of around 15,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of 7,500 automobiles. As a result, it would result in CO 2 emissions reductions of approximately 800,000 euros per year (based on existing certificate purchases), while also safeguarding the value and integrity of the steel forging production process, as well as its long-term environmental sustainability.

Steel is also the material used to construct pipelines; these pipes will be critical in transporting hydrogen and serving ultimate clients. Hydrogen use in difficult-to-abate industrial applications such as steelmaking is critical to meeting domestic and EU climate neutrality targets by 2050.

Green hydrogen is the optimum answer for CO2-free steelmaking and processing in the future. Snam is committed to preparing its infrastructure for hydrogen transport and to encouraging its use in high-potential industrial sectors such as the iron and steel industry.

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