ThyssenKrupp uses hydrogen to decarbonize German steelmaking

ThyssenKrupp has given permission for the largest steelmaking facility in Germany to replace its blast furnaces with low-carbon technology.

ThyssenKrupp’s investment allows for the ongoing use of iron ore suitable for blast furnaces rather than requiring the use of expensive direct reduction (DR) ore. Following the company’s €2 billion investment decision, the first of four blast furnaces will be replaced by a direct reduced iron (DRI) unit that reduces iron ore using hydrogen rather than metallurgical coal.

When the first facility, which will be larger than expected, opens in 2026, the three remaining blast furnaces will be replaced.

More scrap steel must be recycled in order to decarbonize the global steel industry, and blast furnaces that burn coal must give way to DRI technologies that use green hydrogen for primary production. Green hydrogen prices will fall as electrolyzer production capacity rises rapidly.

DRI methods require ores with a higher iron content than blast furnace ores, which account for just around 4% of the global market.

Because of the company’s commitment to go forward, this technology will be operational in just four years. Given this solution for low-quality iron ore, other steelmakers may now move more quickly toward low-carbon DRI.