European Consortium Aims to Decarbonize Steel and Aluminium Industry with Innovative Hydrogen Technologies

Feb 24, 2023

The Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering (IOB) has taken the lead in launching a groundbreaking initiative, known as HyInHeat, which showcases the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy source for industrial heating processes. With participation from 28 partners spanning 12 European countries, this EU-funded project seeks to revolutionize high-temperature procedures in the steel and aluminium sectors, ultimately reducing CO2 emissions on a substantial scale.

HyInHeat, a collaborative effort under the Horizon Europe funding program and part of the Processes4Planet Partnership, has secured an impressive 17.7 million euros in EU funding. The overall project, estimated at nearly 24 million euros, operates within Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 3 to 7. This range encompasses the development stages from experimental technology creation to the crafting of prototypes within an industrial setting.

The initiative tackles the challenges of incorporating green hydrogen into energy-intensive processes, like melting and heat treatment, traditionally reliant on fossil fuels. By demonstrating the feasibility of hydrogen as a fuel alternative, the consortium anticipates a significant reduction in CO2 emissions while fostering the decarbonization of the steel and aluminium industries. One noteworthy aspect of the project is its exploration of various hydrogen fuel mixtures, including combinations with natural gas, up to the use of pure hydrogen. Additionally, the project highlights the utilization of pure oxygen, a byproduct of green hydrogen production through electrolysis, which enhances combustion efficiency.

The participating partners represent a diverse array of industries, including steel producers like ArcelorMittal, Celsa Group, and SSAB, and aluminium sector players such as Befesa, Constellium, Mytilineos, and Speira. Notably, the automotive sector is also represented through Toyota. Linde and Nippon Gases bring their expertise as gas suppliers and technology providers, while furnace manufacturers Danieli, GHI Hornos, and Sarralle contribute technical insights.

Moreover, the initiative involves research institutions such as Tecnalia, Ceit, SWERIM, and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. Academic institutions, including the University of Oulu, NTNU, Politecnico de Milano, and RWTH Aachen University, contribute invaluable knowledge. The project’s scope covers various aspects, ranging from materials testing and combustion kinetics to simulation of hydrogen combustion dynamics.

The IOB, in addition to leading the consortium, plays an active role in the project’s practical aspects. The institute delves into the influence of fuel impurities on gas supply instrumentation and burner operations. Furthermore, the IOB evaluates altered flue gas conditions due to increased water content, necessitating adjustments in emission measurement technology. Modeling and simulation efforts encompass the design of burners, furnace processes, and even plant conversion to hydrogen-based operation.

The initiative maintains a strong focus on sustainability by continuously assessing life cycle impacts and striving to align with the broader goal of decarbonizing the steel and aluminium industry. While funded by the European Union, the project’s viewpoints expressed in this initiative solely represent the authors’ perspectives, dissociated from official EU stances.