Hydrogen steel making closer with Liberty move

Both Australia’s primary steel makers are moving closer towards making steel using green hydrogen following a move by Liberty Steel which operates the Whyalla steek works in South Australia.

On Monday @AuManufacturing reported BlueScope Steel was considering the future of the Port Kembla works in New South Wales after its number five blast furnace reached the end of the current operating campaign.

BlueScope CEO Mark Vassella said future steel making would be centred on breakthrough technologies including using hydrogen and electrolysis.

“These technologies are currently in early stages of technology readiness with significant advances expected to occur over the next decade.

“…In the shorter term, the steel sector will need to rely on technology performance improvements.”

However Liberty Steel Group is moving more quickly, signing a memorandum of understanding with Paul Wurth and SHS-Stahl-Saar to develop a major hydrogen-based steel works in France.

The partners will investigate developing a 1GW hydrogen plant and a two million tonne direct reduced iron (DRI) plant next to the Alvance Aluminium Dunkerque site.

Liberty is part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, and is updating the Whyalla works as well as assessing the viability of a major expansion of the plant.

Gupta said the need for emissions cuts was getting more pressing against a backdrop of rising global demand.

He said: “Our industry needs to reinvent steel production fast.

“…Hydrogen steel making has the potential to solve this issue and we are determined to collaborate with like-minded partners to make it happen.”

Paul Wurth is a steel plant builder while SHS is a German steel producer.

Picture: Whyalla steel works

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