What is Hydrogen Reduction Steel-Making?

Understanding the need for hydrogen reduction steel-making means appreciating some pretty heavy steel stats.

Despite steel’s significance as a basic industry and vital contribution to strengthening the national economy, its energy intensity and carbon emissions contribute to global warming. As a means of saving itself and still keeping up with modern needs, the steel industry attempts to reduce its carbon footprint and eventually achieve carbon neutrality by developing low-carbon steelmaking technologies.

The most promising technology currently available is hydrogen-direct reduction (H-DR), which uses pure green hydrogen instead of conventional gas. Steelmor invites you to a brief overview of this technology.

Hydrogen Reduction Steel-Making Leads the Charge

As a result of the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by 196 countries, the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference has gained traction on a global level. And the steel industry is leading the charge toward a low-carbon economy culture.

In October last year, POSCO (Pohang Iron & Steel Co) held Hydrogen Iron & Steel Making 2021 (HyIS 2021) – the first international forum on hydrogen reduction steelmaking. At that landmark event, POSCO introduced its technology to global steel companies for the first time to lead the era of green steel.

Regular Shaft Furnaces vs Hydrogen Reduction Reactors

We will cover but three key differences that fluidized bed reactors in hydrogen reduction technology bring to the table:

  1. Materials – shaft furnaces use pellets, which are crushed and screened iron ore pellets that are shaped and sized accordingly, whereas fluidized bed reactors use unprocessed iron ore fines.
  2. Methods of contact – (between materials and hydrogen reduction gas). When hydrogen passes between pellets in a shaft furnace, it causes a reduction reaction between them. Conversely, fluidized bed reduction reactors use high-temperature reduction gas to fluidize iron ore fines and cause a reduction reaction by mixing the iron ore as if it were liquid.
  3. Carbon emissions –  the big issue. For every ton of pellets made, 50 to 150 kg of CO2 is emitted. However, the fluidized bed reduction reactor does not emit carbon dioxide as does the pelleting process.

Hydrogen Reduction Steel is Real

The whole hydrogen reduction issue, as such,  is very complex. Temperature, porosity, mineralogy, and other factors are crucial in determining the exact kinetics of hydrogen reduction. Nonetheless, steelmakers worldwide are commendably committed to the realities of global warming.

The world’s ‘carbon emission clock’ might just be set back a tad, giving us more time to save the earth than we thought, thanks to hydrogen reduction steel.x

If you have any other steel and manufacturing-related questions, be sure to contact the team at Steelmor for more information.