ArcelorMittal calls for internationally competitive prices for renewable energies, hydrogen

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal has called for guaranteed internationally competitive prices for renewable energies and hydrogen in sufficient quantities in the long term for Germany to successfully transition to carbon-neutral steel production.

The steelmaker May 17 called for a clear industrial policy, saying that the necessary economic policy framework needed to be put in place more quickly by Germany and the EU.

“Despite significant progress and an EU-approved funding commitment from the German government for the planned decarbonization projects at the flat steel sites in Bremen and Eisenhuttenstadt, the company is facing challenges, particularly due to high energy and hydrogen costs,” it said, adding that competitive energy prices were a significant factor in its final investment decision to decarbonize production in Germany.

ArcelorMittal said CO2-neutral pig iron production required a hydrogen price of around Eur2/kg to remain competitive, but hydrogen prices were Eur7-9/kg. It said it was also difficult to operate EAFs economically in the long term due to high electricity prices.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the cost of green hydrogen production via alkaline electrolysis in Germany, backed by renewable power purchase agreements, at Eur6.58/kg ($7.13/kg) on May 16, down from Eur7.77/kg a month before.

The assessment reflects one possible pathway for producing EU Renewable Energy Directive-compliant green hydrogen.

The recent debut auction under the EU’s European Hydrogen Bank, providing subsidy support for green hydrogen production, cleared at below 50 euro cent/kg, with seven projects totaling 1.5 GW in Iberia and the Nordics the winners.

The winning bids demonstrated both the competitive locations for green power production, along with a willingness of end users to pay a premium for the renewable hydrogen.

There were also several bids from projects in Germany for well under Eur1.50/kg, EC data showed.


Carbon neutral by 2050

ArcelorMittal aims to reduce its CO2 emissions in Europe by 35% by 2030 and reach carbon-neutral production globally by 2050.

In Germany, the company is converting its blast furnace technology to natural gas to reduce emissions and plans to eventually move to hydrogen-based direct reduction and electric arc furnaces.

In February, the German government announced Eur1.3 billion support ArcelorMittal’s plan to build EAFs in Bremen and Eisenhuttenstadt, as well as a direct reduction plant in Bremen.

The steelmaker said at the time the use of green hydrogen could result in savings of more than 6.3 million mt/year of CO2 by 2030 and produce 3.4 million mt of CO2-reduced steel in both plants.

“Decarbonizing our production is a top priority for us, but the current costs and future price forecasts for energy and hydrogen pose a considerable challenge,” ArcelorMittal Germany CEO of the flat steel plants in Bremen and Eisenhuttenstadt Thomas Bunger said in the statement.

“An industrial policy aimed at reducing these costs is crucial for our success and the success of the entire industry,” he said.

“We need the rapid expansion of renewable energies and the development of domestic hydrogen production while at the same time increasing hydrogen imports in order for the transformation to succeed,” ArcelorMittal Europe Vice President Lutz Bandusch said.

The steelmaker said establishing a “green lead market” was crucial to the viability of producing CO2-reduced steel competitively, while labeling initiatives could also be helpful to set additional incentives, such as in public tenders and government procurement.

ArcelorMittal also called for “decisive action” at national and EU levels against distortions of competition, which it said would include closing the remaining weaknesses in Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism to reduce the risk of part of the industrial value chain migrating outside Europe.

“ArcelorMittal remains firmly committed to achieving CO2-neutral production worldwide by 2050. Active support through government measures is essential for the transition to a sustainable future,” it said.

ArcelorMittal produces CO2-reduced steel under its XCarb brand and subscribes to the ResponsibleSteel standard, which guarantees socially and environmentally responsible supply chains and production methods, it said.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed domestic HRC prices in Northern Europe at Eur630/mt ex-works Ruhr May 16, down 8.7% since the start of 2024.

Authors: Jacqueline Holman,, James Burgess,