Rio Tinto, POSCO explore hydrogen-based iron making


Rio Tinto intends to work with customers on steel decarbonization pathways, and the company has established a $1 billion fund to invest in climate-related projects.

The miner is investing in technologies that have the potential to reduce carbon intensity in steelmaking by at least 30% by 2030, or to deliver carbon-neutral steelmaking pathways by 2050, as well as zero-carbon aluminum.

Both Rio Tinto and POSCO have set a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with Rio Tinto’s goal including emissions from shipping products.

“POSCO’s efforts to decarbonize will play a critical role in realizing the country’s recently announced goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050,” Rio Tinto said.

POSCO plans to become a competitive low-carbon steel producer by utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) and hydrogen-based steelmaking.

POSCO estimates that 3.7 million mt of green hydrogen will be required per year to replace coal. It also intends to become a major hydrogen producer and supplier by 2050, producing 5 million mt of green hydrogen. To meet its goals, the steelmaker announced on March 2 that it will invest Won 10 billion ($8.7 million) in a hydrogen-for-steelmaking project.

In 2020, Rio Tinto will produce 333.4 million mt of iron ore, while POSCO will produce 45.3 million mt of crude steel and stainless steel.

Vale has been pursuing low-carbon ironmaking since July 2020, when it entered into a ‘heads of agreement’ with Japan’s Kobe Steel and Mitsui & Co. to form a new venture for the global supply of low-emissions metallics and steelmaking solutions. Midrex, a company that provides direct reduction iron technology, is owned by Kobe Steel. Vale has created Tecnored, a low-carbon pig iron process that uses biomass, syngas, and hydrogen to emit less carbon than met coke.

Vale, a major iron ore and nickel producer, aims to reduce Scope 3 emissions by 15% by 2035, compared to 2018 levels, by working to reduce emissions in steel production and its value chain. Vale claims that Scope 3 emissions account for 98 percent of its total emissions, with only a small contribution from its global mining operations.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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