Ovako successfully tests hydrogen for heating steel

Swedish special steelmaker Ovako has announced that it has successfully tested the use of hydrogen to heat steel before rolling it. This is set to open up further possibilities to reduce the carbon footprint of steel producers due to the fact emissions generated by hydrogen heating is water vapour, Kallanish learns from the company.

The test was done within a full-scale trial launched by the company together with its partner Linde Gas. Hydrogen in this case was substituted for liquefied petroleum gas to re-heat steel before rolling at the group’s mill in Hofors, Sweden.

“This is a major development for the steel industry. It is the first time that hydrogen has been used to heat steel in an existing production environment. Thanks to the trial, we know that hydrogen can be used simply and flexibly, with no impact on steel quality, which would mean a very large reduction in the carbon footprint. We have worked closely with Linde for many years and are proud to be doing this together,” says Göran Nyström.

The company is now looking to invest further in developing the technique. “Our estimate is that an initial investment would save 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and that is just the beginning. We performed this trial in such a way that it can be reproduced at full scale in Hofors and at our other rolling mills,” says Anders Lugnet, group technical specialist, energy & furnace technology at Ovako.