Green hydrogen for emissions-free steel production

Possible development of German crude steel production until 2050, © LBST
Possible development of German crude steel production until 2050, © LBST

Green hydrogen is the future of the German steel industry, which is currently facing major pressure to change due to the challenges of climate protection and increasing international competition. Through H2-aided steel production by direct reduction (DR), on the one hand, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the steel sector can virtually be avoided and, on the other, the industry of Germany can once again demonstrate its strength in innovation. With this in view, energy consultancy Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik (LBST) is busy preparing a new analysis in the form of a metastudy on behalf of the German hydrogen and fuel cell association (Deutscher Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellen-Verband, DWV) in cooperation with DWV’s special advisory group HySteel on the role of green hydrogen in the steel industry.

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Five out of 10 hydrogen living labs underway

Ulrich Wagner, Trans4ReaL spokesman, © Trans4ReaL, Enno Kapitza
Ulrich Wagner, Trans4ReaL spokesman, © Trans4ReaL, Enno Kapitza

Here’s a sobering statistic: Out of a total of 10 hydrogen living labs, only five have actually been rolled out. Peter Altmaier, economy minister in the previous German government, had enthused grandiosely about the practical relevance of the projects he was supporting and went to great lengths to rebut any criticism of them. Even during the selection process, a fair number of voices could be heard complaining that the time for demos had passed. And yet Altmaier used the full force of his authority and sailed on. Today the reality is that the majority of these field trials have yet to swing into action, hampered by excessive bureaucracy and onerous conditions.

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Deutsche Zentrum Mobilität canceled?

German transport minister Volker WissingThe future of the DZM, a national center for future mobility, is more than unknown. The homepage currently only states: “The Deutsche Zentrum Mobilität der Zukunft (DZM) will be restructured and expanded in accordance with the agenda of the new federal administration.”

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Can Africa solve Germany’s energy problems?

The port of Barra do Dande in Angola could be the site for a future hydrogen project, © Lars Schneider
Barra do Dande in Angola – could be the site for a future hydrogen project, © Lars Schneider

While German economy minister Robert Habeck is busy visiting Qatar and Norway in a bid to ease Germany’s dependence on Russian energy supplies, representatives from the Italian government are heading for Algeria, Angola and the Republic of Congo. The German administration, it would seem, still continues to undervalue Africa, both as a potential supplier of natural gas and a partner for new hydrogen projects.

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Where we are is way ahead

HyStarters and HyExperts of round 2
HyStarters and HyExperts of round 2

On May 12th, 2022, German transport minister Dr. Volker Wissing set off the next round of the HyLand program. Representatives from each of the 15 HyStarter and HyExpert Regions came to Berlin to hear the funding decisions from the ministry for transport and digital infrastructure (Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr, BMDV). In addition, Wissing announced another call for HyPerformer Regions – also for this year.

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LOHCs as a promising alternative?

Hydrogenious’ demo system for hydrogen storage and transport in Finland, © HySTOC
Hydrogenious’ demo system for hydrogen storage and transport in Finland, © HySTOC

A startup from Erlangen, Germany is advancing the development of a liquid organic hydrogen carrier. With various corporations like Bilfinger und Schaeffler, the technology company is trying to make the innovative solution for green hydrogen more economical worldwide. At the end of 2023, the largest storage and release plant thus far is to appear in Chempark Dormagen, near Cologne. It should be able to produce and store 1,800 tonnes of hydrogen annually. Demand is widely abundant.

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Significant quantities of hydrogen from abroad

Thorsten Kasten, © DWV
© DWV

Membership of the German hydrogen and fuel cell association DWV is going up and up. Not only that, the difficult energy policy situation at the moment means the association is gaining in importance too. For several years the DWV has been evolving into a central industry association alongside the German gas and water industries association DVGW. In order to further improve cooperation between the two organizations, in spring 2021 the DWV executive committee selected Thorsten Kasten, at the DVGW’s suggestion, to become its second chairman (see H2-international, August 2021). H2-international spoke to Kasten during the Hannover Messe about his first year at the DWV and to Tilman Wilhelm, who from April this year has headed up the regulatory policy, press and public relations work of the DVGW, about the challenges in the energy space.

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Reuther STC insolvent again

The steel construction company Reuther STC GmbH from Fürstenwalde, Brandenburg is bankrupt once more. On June 1, 2022, insolvency proceedings were opened – for the second time. As the state broadcaster, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), reported, Reuther had already been “as good as bankrupt before the pandemic,” since, in 2019, a 7-million-euro order from Senvion for over 15 towers for wind turbines had been dissolved because of its insolvency. “We then went to court and filed for bankruptcy,” recalled sales manager Christian Klingelstein. With support from the region, the company was able to save itself by using its know-how additionally for the construction of hydrogen containers from now on. So 165 of the previously imperiled jobs were saved.

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Herdan now developing e-fuel projects

Portrait: Thorsten Herdan, © HIF EMEA
© HIF EMEA

Thorsten Herdan has worked for the German economic ministry for 8 years. Now, he’s moving to HIF Global. The mechanical engineer’s foray into politics lasted until January 2022. Mid-May, the e-fuel development company appointed Herdan the managing director of HIF EMEA.

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