With the inauguration of the world’s largest direct reduction plant for green iron, powered solely by green hydrogen, HyIron is paving the way for climate-neutral iron production. This landmark achievement not only tackles emissions but also heralds a new era of sustainable steelmaking.
Germany, a major player in steel production, emits a staggering 55 million tons of CO2 annually from this sector alone. Accounting for six percent of the country’s total emissions, this highlights the urgency of addressing emissions from steelmaking. HyIron’s initiative, supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Environment, marks a turning point in this battle, offering a viable solution to reduce emissions and revolutionize iron production.
HyIron’s monumental achievement is centered around green hydrogen, a clean energy source produced through electrolysis using renewable resources. With the world’s largest direct reduction plant for green iron, located at RWE’s Emsland gas-fired power plant, HyIron is set to demonstrate the transformative potential of green hydrogen in iron ore reduction. The Lower Saxony Ministry’s investment of three million euros underscores the significance of this endeavor.
In collaboration with RWE and BENTELER Steel/Tube, HyIron is spearheading innovation in steel production. The consortium is not only focusing on green iron production but also on testing the application of sponge iron in steelmaking from 2024. BENTELER Steel/Tube aims to use the steel produced at the Lingen site for low-CO2 tube manufacturing, amplifying the impact of this pioneering project.
HyIron’s success is underpinned by the development of a proprietary gas-tight rotary kiln. This innovative technology enables the complete reaction of hydrogen with oxygen in iron ore, converting it into elemental iron, known as direct reduced iron (DRI). Unlike traditional methods, this process produces only water vapor instead of carbon dioxide, fostering a sustainable cycle that aligns with the goal of climate neutrality.
Lower Saxony’s commitment to green hydrogen is highlighted through HyIron’s groundbreaking project. Climate Protection Minister Christian Meyer emphasizes the importance of technological innovation in achieving climate goals. The successful commissioning of the direct reduction plant underscores the state’s evolution as a hub for green hydrogen technology, a testament to its aspiration to be Germany’s leading green hydrogen state.
HyIron’s trailblazing technology holds global implications for climate-neutral iron production. This approach, in alignment with climate protection agreements, establishes the sustainability of raw material production within Germany. Lingen’s selection as the site for this transformative project was influenced by the concentration of hydrogen initiatives in the Emsland H2 region and RWE’s gas-fired power plant site.
HyIron’s future green hydrogen production will be facilitated by RWE’s 14-megawatt pilot electrolysis plant. This forthcoming endeavor, expected to operate by the end of 2023, signifies a harmonious blend of innovation and infrastructure. The Lower Saxony Ministry’s eight million euros investment in the pilot electrolysis plant reiterates the state’s commitment to advancing clean energy technologies.