The aim of the “Salzgitter Hydrogen” sector-interconnection project is to generate hydrogen in Salzgitter through electrolysis and electricity from wind power. These activities are intended to put down the foundation for harnessing larger volumes of hydrogen in the future to reduce direct CO2 emissions in the production of steel. Avacon builded seven wind turbines with an output of 30 megawatts on the premises of the Salzgitter Group, three of which are located on the grounds of the steel mill. Industrial gas supplier Linde ensures the steady supply of hydrogen. Within the context of this project, the partners are aiming to build up know-how for the environmentally compatible production of hydrogen, as well as for gaining experience with the on-site production of hydrogen and its incorporation into an integrated steel mill with its complex production processes. Hydrogen delivered by Linde is already used today in the annealing processes that are part of producing steel. In addition, the use of hydrogen in mills opens up potential for significantly reducing the CO2 emissions generated from steel production processes in the future.
With a view to achieving this goal, Salzgitter AG conceived the SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) project that maps a realistic path toward the gradual reduction of CO2 and, in the long term, steel production that is virtually free of CO2. As part of this project, hydrogen generated from renewable energies is to replace the carbon so far required for the smelting of iron ore.
Salzgitter Flachstahl is endeavoring to gain operational experience through this project in the area of generating “hydrogen from renewable energies” that is so important for SALCOS®. Subsequently, this experience could be drawn on for the implementation on an industrial scale. Although the framework conditions prevailing today do not permit the commercial operation of a direct combination of wind energy generation and electrolysis operations without government funding, the three partners are determined to develop and advance this technology that is so significant for the future and for climate protection.
The developer and operator of the park is Avacon Natur GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avacon AG. The hubs of the turbines built by Vestas reach a height of 169 meters.
They will have an overall output of around 30 MW. The cost of the project as a whole – including the construction of the wind turbines and the hydrogen plant as well as the necessary infrastructure – amounts to around 50 million euro.
Salzgitter Flachstahl also builded a PEM-Elektrolysis plant supplied by Siemens, to produce green hydrogen. The hydrogen can be used in the reduction of iron ore in place of the usual carbon. It therefore plays an important role in the “SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking” concept and contributes to the goal of low-CO2 steel production.
Production at our Salzgitter steelworks generates around eight million tons of CO2 a year that are unavoidable due to processes and the current status of technical conditions and the facilities available. In order to lower our CO2 emissions beyond the current scope, we want to test new approaches and research innovative process technologies.
CO2 emissions could be massively reduced through a special production process. Under the project name of SALCOS®, researchers and experts in production within our Group are collaborating with the Fraunhofer Institutes and other partners in investigating new technologies and incorporating them into an integrated steelworks.
The declared vision of GrInHy is to avoid carbon dioxide by harnessing green hydrogen as a basis in industrial processes. Thanks to its superior electrical efficiency, high-temperature electrolysis presently ranks as one of the most promising technologies for achieving these objectives.
GrInHy is committed to a proof of concept for the operation of high-temperature electrolytes in the industrial environment of an integrated steelworks and to meeting its hydrogen quality standards. Moreover, the project is focused on developing a reversible generator based on Reversible Solid Oxide Cell (RSOC) technology into a marketable product.
Commissioning of WPTs and secure grid connection
Avacon AG is Germany’s largest distribution grid operator. The company reliably operates electricity and gas networks in the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. Avacon future proofs the networks and the tasks of tomorrow. More than € 160 million a year are earmarked for expanding the network and the integration of renewable energies. As a large scale regional supplier, Avacon plays an active part in implementing Germany’s renewable energy policy, with strong and innovative networks.
Avacon Natur GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avacon AG. The company develops energy supply solutions based on renewable energies, as well as innovative and efficient technologies for industrial enterprises, commercial and domestic customers. Avacon Natur GmbH is the Avacon AG company entrusted with executing operations under this project.
Information on Avacon AG is available online at: www.avacon.de.
Dr. Stephan Tenge
Chief Technology Officer of Avacon AG
“If we want to secure a high share of green gas in our grids going forward, especially in the heat sector, we need a strong expansion of power-to-gas plants producing CO2-neutral hydrogen from renewable electricity through electrolysis. Against the backdrop of our large gas network infrastructure, Avacon considers it strategically important to gain the necessary expertise for the interconnection across sectors.”
Gaining and developing expertise in the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity and use in steel processing
Salzgitter AG ranks as one of Europe’s leading steel and technology groups, with external sales of around € 9 billion, more than 25,000 employees and just under 160 domestic and international subsidiaries and associates. The company is divided up into the business units of Strip Steel, Plate/Section Steel, Mannesmann, Trading and Technology.
Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH is its largest subsidiary, producing a wide range of high grade special and branded steels for sophisticated customer sectors such as the automotive industry.
Information on the Salzgitter Group is available online at: www.salzgitter-ag.com
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann
Chairman of the Executive Board of Salzgitter AG
“In the future, hydrogen will play a key role in mobility, the production and storage of energy, as well as in many other industrial processes. As we have demonstrated with our SALCOS® project, we command the technological wherewithal to achieve significant reductions in CO2 using hydrogen. We view the “Salzgitter Clean Hydrogen” project as a significant building block on our course to more environmentally compatible steel production.”
Supply reliability with H2 and incorporation of existing expertise
Linde plc is a leading industrial gas and engineering company with revenues (pro forma) of USD 28 billion (EUR 24 billion) in 2018. The company employs around 80,000 members of staff worldwide and serves customers in more than 100 countries across the globe. Linde plc delivers innovative and sustainable solutions for its customers and creates value added for all stakeholders.
The company makes our world more productive by developing products, technologies and services that improve the profitability and ecological performance of its customers in a networked world, while enabling them to lower their operating costs and enhance their efficiency.
Information on Linde plc can be found online at: www.linde.com
Head of the Central Europe Region
“We are greatly looking forward to our groundbreaking cooperation based on our long-standing and successful partnership. For more than a century, Linde has pioneered the use of hydrogen as an industrial gas in a wide range of applications. We have already gained positive experience in the future-oriented technology from the Mainz Energy Park. We will now be contributing this experience to the project in Salzgitter, which, together with our customers, will enable us to take another important step in the direction of an environmentally compatible supply."