ArcelorMittal to take Green Steel honors with Sestao plan
EEuropean steelmaker ArcelorMittal today announced its intention to become the world’s first steelmaker to produce fossil-free steel from virgin iron.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s second-largest steelmaker and Europe’s largest producer, plans to produce steel without fossil fuels through a process known as H-DRI-EAF.
H-DRI-EAF uses hydrogen (H) as a reducer of iron ore in a direct reduction iron shaft furnace (DRI). The DRI would then be used as a raw material for an electric arc furnace (EAF). Green hydrogen will be produced by solar electrolysis.
Alex Griffiths, Senior Analyst, Steel and Iron Ore, at Wood Mackenzie, a global natural resources and energy consultancy, said: “AcelorMittal plans to start production of H-DRI-EAF by 2025 at its Sestao steel plant, in Spain.
“The start of fossil-free steel production in Sestao in 2025 would surpass the proposed start in 2026 of the Swedish HYBRIT project. “
He said ArcelorMittal’s Sestao H-DRI-EAF project is less ambitious than HYBRIT. Sestao already has two ready-to-use FEAs, while HYBRIT needs to build them. Both projects depend on financial support from their respective governments, but HYBRIT is developing the hydrogen electrolyzer in-house. ArcelorMittal’s hydrogen will be supplied by a consortium of third parties.
Griffiths added: “Nonetheless, building a solar-powered hydrogen electrolyzer ready to deliver hydrogen to a new DRI module, all by 2025 – in just four years – is blazingly fast.
“It also shows how decarbonization of the European steel industry is accelerating.
“After being the only player in the race for many years, HYBRIT may decide that it doesn’t want to come second and could speed up the commissioning. A third company, the Swedish H2GS, is also considering construction. Will anyone else join the great race for fossil-free steel?
He said: “For decarbonization, who wins the H-DRI-EAF race does not matter. It matters how much is ultimately produced.
“Our baseline scenario is that by 2050 the EU will consume less than 10 million tonnes of IRD in steelmaking – with a third of that volume imported.