Salzgitter, Sunfire complete EU-funded green hydrogen project

Steelmaker Salzgitter and electrolysis manufacturer Sunfire have successfully complete their EU-funded Green Industrial Hydrogen, or GrInHy2.0, project after four years with a record production of almost 100 mt of green hydrogen for the production of green steel, the companies said Oct. 17.

To date, almost 100 mt of green hydrogen gas produced has been fed directly into the hydrogen grid of Salzgitter’s Flachstahl mill in Germany to be used in the annealing processes and galvanizing plants for steel finishing.

Since 2019, the project partners have been operating a high temperature electrolyzer from Sunfire with an electrical connected load of 720 kW on the premises of the Flachstahl mill.

“GrInHy2.0 is an important part of our SALCOS project for CO2-reduced steel production,” Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung Head of Department Efficiency of Resources and R&D Coordination Alexander Redenius said.

SALCOS is Salzgitter’s low CO2 steelmaking program.

“Green hydrogen is essential for producing low-CO2 steel, as it reduces carbon emissions very efficiently,” Redenius said. “With GrInHy2.0, we have gained valuable insights into the integration of electrolysis into our production processes,” he added.

The partnership between Sunfire and Salzgitter will continue beyond the GrInHy2.0 project, they said.

“For the transformation of steel production towards hydrogen-based processes, the criteria of availability and cost-effectiveness are becoming increasingly important. Therefore, high-temperature electrolysis is a very interesting technology in the field of steel production, which we will continue to support intensively,” said Redenius.

At the start of 2022, the Sunfire electrolyzer set new efficiency standards by being able to demonstrate an electrical efficiency of 84% el,LHV, or lower heating value, which corresponds to an energy requirement of 39.7 kWh/kg H2, for the first time due to its innovative solid oxide electrolyzer cell, or SOEC, technology, according to the companies.

“Projects like this lay the foundation for rapidly scaling electrolysis technologies worldwide,” Sunfire CTO Christian von Olshausen said, adding that the company had gained valuable insights for further technical development.

The SMS group company Paul Wurth, Tenova and the French research institution CEA were also part of the GrInHy2.0 project, which received funding from the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, now called the Clean Hydrogen Partnership.

Hydrogen is used in low carbon steelmaking to power electric arc furnaces, which also use iron ore in the steelmaking process.

The Platts 62% Fe iron ore index was at $96.15/dry mt CFR North China on Oct. 14, down 19.5% since the start of 2022. Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Annalisa Villa