‘Steeling’ from fossil fuels: Austrians to power steel industry entirely on clean hydrogen

Scientists are investigating alternative methods to produce the energy that is required for us to carry on living our lives, but in a way that doesn't burden the environment. Now, one group of scientists is getting ready to deliver on such efforts with the world’s biggest pilot plant for the production of green hydrogen.

Hydrogen fuel can be used for various functions such as powering liquid rocket engines and most modes of transport. It is generally accepted that along with electricity, hydrogen will constitute a primary energy carrier upon which vehicles, buildings, aircraft and even national economies will depend. The Hydrogen Council has estimated that by 2050 hydrogen will constitute almost 20 % of energy consumed by end users.

The ongoing Horizon 2020 project H2Future – a Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) flagship project – has set the ambitious target of generating ‘green’ hydrogen that is specifically intended for the steel and iron manufacturing industry. The International Energy Agency estimates that current operations in this area are responsible for around 7 % of total global CO2 emissions.Austria’s largest electricity company VERBUND has teamed up with five other partners – voestalpine, APG, K1-MET, ECN (along with TNO) and Siemens – to construct a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis system at voestalpine’s steel mill in Linz, Austria. A joint press release notes that the PEM system is capable of generating up to 6 MW of power and is planned to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2019

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