30% hydrogen used in steel forging as Australian industries decarbonise


By Peter Roberts

Progress in utilising green hydrogen to power industrial process is being made rapidly, with the latest development the world’s first test with a 30 per cent hydrogen/natural gas blend steel forging processes.

The mix was used to power furnaces at the Rho, Italian forged products plant of Forgiatura A. Vienna (pictured), part of the GIVA Group.

The blend of methane and hydrogen is estimated to save the company 800,000 euros per year, calculated on the current purchase of certificates, and create a green market advantage for the company’s valves and actuators.

CEO of project developer Snam, Marco Alverà said: “In the medium to long term, hydrogen is in a position to become the solution for decarbonising steelmaking as well as all hard-to-abate industrial sectors that have a fundamental role in our economy.

“This trial is a preparatory step to the gradual introduction of zero-emission hydrogen, initially blended with natural gas and then in pure form, in certain steelmaking production processes.”

The use of the hydrogen and natural gas blend did not require any plant modifications and had no impact on the industrial burners used or on the characteristics of the final heat-treated product.

The Italian breakthrough comes in the same week Australian cement and building materials group Adbri, committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

In April Adbri and industrial process technology company Calix began a five-year collaboration to develop the world’s first commercial-scale, zero-emissions lime production facility.

Calix is also involved in a major project, funded by the European Union, to construct a full demonstration plant of its Low Emissions Intensity Lime And Cement (LEILAC) technology t a HeidelbergCement plant in Germany.

The prominence of Australian companies utilising hydrogen in critical industrial applications such as steel and cement is welcome, as are moves by companies to utilise green energy from solar and wind sources:

  • Also this week Alcoa in Australia launched a $28.2 million project to demonstrate renewable energy in process heat for alumina refining
  • Whyalla steelworks owner Liberty Steel Group is part of the global group which is working with Paul Wurth and SHS-Stahl-Saar to develop a major hydrogen-based steel works in France.
  • And BlueScope Steel is considering the future of the Port Kembla works in New South Wales, with the future steel making centred on breakthrough technologies including using hydrogen and electrolysis.

The move to a low-carbon economy is underway in earnest, and Australian industry itself is no laggard.

Picture: GIVA Group/1,000 tonne press

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