French green hydrogen producer Lhyfe estimates a renewables hydrogen-based DRI-EAF steelmaking process would cut CO2 emissions by 75-100% versus the blast furnace route, employing 54kg of green hydrogen/tonne of finished steel.
The hydrogen producer is in talks with steelmakers in Europe for possible collaborations and hydrogen production plant development (see Kallanish passim). A DRI plant would require a 700 megawatts electrolyser capacity, with on-site hydrogen supply the best option to avoid transport and storage costs.
Replacing natural gas or other fossil fuels with green hydrogen to power a re-heating furnace in a rolling mill requires 5-12kg of green H2 per tonne of rolled steel, and a 100MW electrolyser capacity, says Lhyfe industry division head Frederic Naudi. The reduction in CO2 emissions depends on the chosen composition of fuel for the furnace, whether it is a H2 blend with natural gas or pure hydrogen.
A typical heat treatment furnace requires approximately 100-200kg per dosage of H2 for controlled atmosphere. The hydrogen supply in this case is possible using Iso-tube Trailers which would transport 500-1,000kg of H2 per delivery. This entails a CO2 reduction of approximately 90%, Naudi says.
Lhyfe is working on the challenge of scaling up hydrogen production to feed the steel and other hard-to-abate sectors and is collaborating with electrolyser manufacturers to build “mega units”, larger equipment capable of guaranteeing industry supply. The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative will create a hydrogen network of 53,000km across Europe by 2040 based on using 60% of repurposed natural gas pipelines and 40% new pipeline stretches. This will fast-track hydrogen supply, another source close to the company says.
Lhyfe is boosting renewable energy supply security, focusing on 100% renewables power. In 2021, it launched its renewable H2 production floating platform demonstrator called Sealhyfe, powered by an offshore wind farm in Saint-Nazaire, France.
In the first six-month trial phase, Sealhyfe produced green hydrogen at quay in the port of Saint-Nazaire before being moved off the coast of Le Croisic for a period of 12 months. Once off-shore, SeaLhyfe was connected to a floating wind turbine less than a kilometre away. Lhyfe decided for offshore production thanks to the powerful, constant and abundant renewable energy provided by large wind farms.
Aiming to be one of the leaders in green hydrogen production in Europe, the company is targeting a total installed capacity of 55MW in 2024, 200MW in 2026 and over 3 gigawatts by 2030.
Natalia Capra France