Hitachi Energy and H2 Green Steel partner to leverage electrification, digitalization, and hydrogen for green steel production

Hitachi Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with H2 Green Steel to leverage electrification, digitalization, and hydrogen to support the decarbonization of the steel industry.

H2 Green, a Swedish industrial start-up, is on a mission to accelerate the global steel industry’s greatest technological shift by eliminating almost all of carbon dioxide (CO).2) emissions from the steel production process. It is planning to build its first fossil-free steel plant in Boden, Sweden, alongside a giga-scale electrolyzer plant for the production of green hydrogen.

H2 Green Steel production. Electrolysis is the starting point for the green steel production process. The giga-scale electrolysis will be an integrated part of the plant, using fossil-free electricity to produce the hydrogen needed to bring 5 million tons of high-quality steel to the market by 2030. The DR reactor refines iron ore to direct-reduced iron (DRI). This is done by exposing iron ore to hydrogen, which reacts with the oxygen in the ore to form steam as a residual. The majority of DRI is transported in the hot state inside the plant to the Electric Arc Furnace, while the rest is briquetted into hot briquetted iron, HBI, for storage and later use.

The Electric Arc Furnace is the first step in the electric meltshop. In the Electric Arc Furnace, fossil-free electricity will be used to heat a combination of DRI and steel scrap to a homogenous melt of liquid steel. In the melting process, carbon plays an important role in lowering electricity consumption, forming protective properties of the slag on top of the melt and enabling the transformation of iron to steel. From the Electric Arc Furnace, the melt is transferred to the ladle furnace and RH degasser, where alloys are added to the melt to refine chemistries.

Continuous casting and rolling allows keeping the steel warm all the way from the Electric Arc Furnace to finished product. The integrated process enables a reduction in energy consumption by 70% and the replacement of natural gas typically used in the traditional process. The steel strip is wound into a “hot roll coil,” which is the initial product of the green steel facility. Some hot rolled coils are transferred to fully electrified downstream finishing lines.

The MoU outlines a collaboration which is built on three pillars:

  1. Hitachi Energy’s equity investment in H2 Green Steel;

  2. Products and services from Hitachi Energy that are needed to construct and improve the electrical infrastructure to power steel production and giga-scale electrolyzer plants; and

  3. Green steel to be used in the manufacturing of Hitachi Energy’s products, once H2 Green Steel starts production.

Over the past decade, expanding steel production has increased total energy demand and CO2 emissions, which contributes to about eight percent of the world’s global industrial carbon emissions, according to McKinsey.

Starting with the plant in Boden, H2 Green Steel will leverage Hitachi Energy’s capabilities to optimize customers’ value chain to plan, build, operate, and maintain the power infrastructure that includes IT and operational technology (OT).

The steel production in Boden will use green hydrogen instead of coal in a fully integrated process using end-to-end digitalization, which reduces up to 95% CO2 emissions compared to traditional steelmaking. This will be equivalent to removing 3 million passenger cars per year from road.

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