Steel News

World’s Largest Green Hydrogen Pilot Facility Launched in Austria

11/13/2019 - voestalpine has started up its pilot-scale electrolysis plant and is producing hydrogen derived from renewable sources of electricity.  According to voestalpine, the new plant has a capacity of over 6 MW. It uses renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and will be able to test whether the technology deployed is suitable for use on an industrial scale. 

Part of the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, the plant is located at voestalpine’s site in Linz. 

H2FUTURE project brings together voestalpine, VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET and TNO to study the industrial production of green hydrogen as a means of replacing fossil fuels in steel production. The EU has contributed EUR18 million in funding for the project.

With global climate goals aimed at eliminating CO2 emissions by 2050, CO2-neutral hydrogen is viewed as the most promising option for facilitating energy transition, voestalpine said. 

voestalpine’s goal is to successively increase the use of green hydrogen in the steel production process, allowing it reduce its CO2 emissions by more than 80% in the next 30 years. 

As a bridge between the existing coke/coal-based blast furnace route and electric arc furnaces powered with green electricity partly generated using green hydrogen, voestalpine is investigating the practicality of a hybrid technology. If it proves to be economically feasible, the hybrid route would reduce voestalpine’s CO2 emissions by about a third sometime between 2030 and 2035. 

“The most important precondition for scenario planning based on green electricity and green hydrogen is sufficient quantities of renewable energy available at commercially realistic prices. This is the only way in which we can apply tomorrow’s technologies in a truly competitive manner,” said Herbert Eibensteiner, chairman of voestalpine’s management board.