thyssenkrupp Steel has awarded the SMS group a contract to design and build the first hydrogen-fired direct reduction plant and two meltdown units at its Duisburg location. The order is worth €1.8 billion.
This was announced by the SMS group and thyssenkrupp steel in press releases. The award of the contract marks the start of implementation of what they claim is one of the world's biggest industrial decarbonization projects.
Thanks to an early start to the measures, the preliminary work can begin without delay. Completion of the plant with a capacity of 2.5 million metric tons of direct reduced iron (DRI) is scheduled for the end of 2026.
thyssenkrupp plans to combine the DRI plant with two new melters. The positioning of the melters next to the direct reduction plant will allow the immediate conversion of the starting material into liquid iron.
Funding commitments still outstanding
It has not yet been decided whether the European Union will support the project and how high a possible subsidy could be. Decisions are expected to be made in the next few months. According to the companies, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the German government have already signaled financial support for the project.
The German government has already approved the initial measures, and now the project partners want to start detailed planning and preparatory construction work.Further civil engineering services and the necessary infrastructure and media connections are required, they say.
Once operational, the plant is expected to avoid more than 3.5 million t of CO2 annually.
Avoiding CO2 emissions with hydrogen
The award of the contract marks a technological turning point for the Essen-based steel group: As part of the tkH2Steel transformation concept, the use of the hydrogen-based DRI plant could end CO2-intensive steel production through the use of coking coal. Around 20 million tons are emitted annually at the Duisburg site alone.
thyssenkrupp Steel plans to avoid as much as 6 million t of CO2 in 2030, and thus more than 30% of its total emissions. By 2045 production is to be completely climate-neutral.
With the SMS group, thyssenkrupp has commissioned a company also from NRW to build the plant. According to SMS, this is the biggest single order in the company's history.