Ovako will be the first in the world to heat steel with hydrogen prior to rolling, thanks to the new hydrogen plant in Hofors, which is the next significant step toward climate-neutral steel manufacturing.
The technical approach will also allow for large-scale, cost-effective hydrogen generation for applications such as fossil-free freight via fuel-cell vehicles. With many installations, a network of locally produced fossil-free hydrogen for the transportation industry may be established.
Ovako is presently forming partnerships with a number of major companies in the Swedish and Norwegian industries. The Swedish Energy Agency has also backed the project, with the same objective of creating industry-wide usage of fossil-free hydrogen, raising awareness of its potential, and attaining cost-effective production. Along with the hydrogen plant, a filling station for hydrogen-powered heavy trucks is planned.
“It is critical that we work together across industries and invest in solutions that bring significant and immediate climate benefits. Ovako has decreased its CO2 emissions by 54% since 2015, and we will now be the first steel firm to demonstrate that CO2 can be eliminated for heating steel before rolling, bringing us further closer to climate-neutral production,” says Marcus Hedblom, President and CEO of Ovako.
“The transportation business is experiencing a paradigm transition, and green hydrogen will be one of the most significant energy vectors in the long-haul and heavy freight industries. The steel industry’s decentralized hydrogen generation ties very nicely with the transportation industry’s requirement for fossil-free fuel. Because the steel sector can utilize it in many regions of the world, this technical solution is scalable. Working with other sectors to be a part of the full value chain around our transportation solutions is critical,” says Lars Stenqvist, Volvo Group’s Chief Technology Officer.
“Green hydrogen is one of the supplementary energy carriers that can help the energy transition to a carbon-neutral future where direct electrification is not practicable.” Jenny Larsson, Managing Director, Hitachi ABB Power Grids Sweden, says, “This exciting collaboration will test new value chains, and we look forward to gaining knowledge about how an electrolysis plant can interact with the existing electricity network and become an important resource for its stability.”
“H2 Green Steel aspires to hasten the transition to fossil-free heavy industry production across Europe and the rest of the globe. Green hydrogen will be crucial to the transformation of most industrial processes since it will replace fossil fuels. We can now test the generation of fossil-free hydrogen with Ovako and see how this fuel may be utilized to attain and manage the high temperatures necessary for high-quality steel manufacturing. H2 Green Steel’s Chief Technology Officer, Maria Persson Gulda, states, “This expertise will serve as a significant input towards our own large-scale hydrogen production, which will begin in Boden in 2024.”
“We are ecstatic to be a part of this exciting initiative with such outstanding partners. We will work together to make this initiative a success, standardizing the entire solution and ensuring that it can be duplicated across Europe,” says Jon André Lkke, CEO of Nel Hydrogen.
“At Ovako, we regard this investment in hydrogen as a strategically essential step toward a more fossil-free world. “We aim to spread the solution throughout the steel sector and to other businesses that presently use fossil fuels to heat steel,” says Klara Helstad, director of the Swedish Energy Agency’s sustainable industry unit.
This technical approach substitutes fossil fuels by supplying high-temperature steel-making processes with fossil-free hydrogen and oxygen. Because the steel sector requires more oxygen than hydrogen, there are strong prospects for cost-effective and large-scale hydrogen utilization in other industries, such as fossil-free freight using fuel cell vehicles. The technology is adaptable, which means it can help to enhance power grid stability, allowing for a larger share of renewable energy sources. Additionally, leftover heat may be used in district heating systems.
The electrolyzer for producing fossil-free hydrogen will be erected at Ovako’s Hofors facility and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022, if all permissions are obtained on time. The 17-megawatt plant will produce 3,500 cubic meters of non-fossil hydrogen per hour. Ovako will be able to cut CO2 emissions for steel manufacturing in Hofors by 50%, compared to current low levels, thanks to the conversion to hydrogen. The Swedish Energy Agency’s Industriklivet program is supporting the investment of roughly SEK 180 million. Local hydrogen generation will be employed in all of Ovako’s steel-rolling plants by 2030, assuming there is a reliable source of fossil-free power.