Salzgitter, a prominent German steelmaker, has chosen the Energiron DR technology, developed jointly by Tenova and Danieli, for its upcoming direct reduction iron (DRI) plant in Lower Saxony, Germany.
The selection of this advanced technology marks a significant step towards the decarbonization of the European industrial sector.
The Energiron DR technology offers a unique advantage by enabling the use of both natural gas and 100% hydrogen as reducing agents, allowing for flexibility in the production process. The technology also permits the use of gas mixtures in any proportion. While the DRI process primarily relies on hydrogen, incorporating a certain amount of natural gas is advisable to ensure the minimum carbon required during smelting, according to Danieli.
The order from Salzgitter includes the implementation of Hytemp’s® patented system, which enables the pneumatic transport of hot iron for loading into an electric arc furnace at temperatures of up to 600 °C. This innovative system not only ensures energy savings but also enhances the plant’s capability to produce cold, direct-reduced iron.
One notable feature of the Energiron DR technology is its ability to capture and utilize CO2, which contributes to a significant reduction in overall carbon dioxide emissions. This aspect aligns with Salzgitter’s commitment to sustainability and the reduction of its environmental footprint.
The new DRI plant will have a production capacity of 2.1 million tons per year, further solidifying Salzgitter’s position as a leading steel producer in Europe. The plant is scheduled to commence operations in July 2026, marking a significant milestone in the decarbonization efforts of the challenging-to-decarbonize European industrial sectors.
Following the success of the initial plant, Salzgitter plans to install a second Energiron plant at the same site in Salzgitter as part of its long-term decarbonization strategy.
Salzgitter aims to achieve a remarkable 95% reduction in emissions from steel production by the mid-2030s. To accomplish this ambitious goal, the company is gradually transitioning to direct reduction technology that relies on green hydrogen. In 2015, Salzgitter launched the SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) project, which focuses on decarbonizing steel production through the use of natural gas and hydrogen. In a recent development, the company announced the commencement of industrial production of green hydrogen, generated through wind farms, in collaboration with Avacon and Linde.
The SALCOS project’s first phase is being financed through subsidies provided by the Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Lower Saxony, amounting to approximately €1 billion, in addition to Salzgitter AG’s own investment of over €1 billion.