HBIS Serbia eyes hydrogen: Serbian PM

HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel plans to use hydrogen as an energy source at its Smederevo works, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in Beijing after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week.

Economic relations are good between Serbia and China, Brnabic said, adding she expects a new era in relations and the improvement of mutual trade after the signing of a free trade agreement. Xi Jinping said he would aim to visit Serbia next year, she noted.

At the same time, Brnabic emphasised that the future of the Smederevo steelworks is completely safe and that the HBIS Group, as the owner of the company, has clear plans for additional investments.

“The next focus of the second round of investments is energy efficiency and the green transition, and they [HBIS] also plan to make part of the ironworks run on hydrogen, in order to implement the idea that there will be no emissions of harmful gases in the next few decades,” said Brnabic.

HBIS Serbia did not reply to Kallanish request for comment before deadline.

In March, the plant resumed operations at its idled blast furnace (see Kallanish passim), returning to a two BF operation after idling BF1 the previous summer due to low demand.

The plant in Smederevo can produce about 2.2 million tonnes/year of steel across its two furnaces, while No.1 alone has a capacity of about 900,000 t/y. Product range comprises hot and cold rolled coil, pickled coil and electrolytic tinplate.

HBIS Serbia’s production in January-September 2022 amounted to 901,000 tonnes, the latest available figures. The company’s exports to the EU market during the first seven months of 2022, meanwhile, were 397,000t, up by 3.9% on-year.

Serbia’s production of crude steel totalled 1.12 million tonnes in January-September 2023, down by 34.7% on-year, according to the latest worldsteel data. In full-year 2022, the country’s output was 1.67 million tonnes, up by 0.3% on-year.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria