Germany’s BMWK issues first grant for steel processing decarbonization

The Federal Ministry of Germany for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, or BMWK, has granted Eur880,000 ($914,000) to steelmaker Georgsmarienhütte’s decarbonization project, which would cut carbon emissions and natural gas imports.

This was the first time BMWK was funding a project aimed at decarbonizing steel processing, the ministry said in a Nov. 25 statement.

Using this fund, Georgsmarienhütte—a German supplier of bars made of high-grade structural and stainless steel—will build a quenching and tempering plant for the thermal treatment of steel bars and put it into operation in mid-2023.

In the traditional energy-intensive tempering process, the reheating furnaces are fired with natural gas and generate greenhouse gas emissions, but in this project, they will be powered instead by green electricity. The project will therefore replace a major source of CO2 emissions at the Georgsmarienhütte site in Lower Saxony, and at the same time contribute to reducing Germany’s dependence on natural gas imports.

At this mill alone, around 2,800 mt/year of CO2 emissions can be avoided, according to BMWK’s statement.

This funding approval is the first in a series of similar projects in the primary and secondary steel industry as well as the chemical, glass, cement, paper, and nonferrous metal industries, which the ministry is currently considering supporting as part of decarbonizing European industry and hydrogen-related IPCEI initiatives.

In Germany, the steel industry accounts for 30% of the country’s industrial emissions, or 181 million mt of CO2 equivalent in 2021, and therefore offers a large lever for decarbonization, according to BMWK.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the Northwest European price for rebar at Eur785/mt ex-works, down 1.9% on the week. The weekly assessment was broadly stable, having come off only Eur5 from Eur790/mt at the start of the year.

— Ekaterina Bouckley