Ugitech to decarbonise operations with hydrogen plant

Swiss Steel’s France-based stainless subsidiary Ugitech will build a green hydrogen production plant at its Ugine site in Savoie, in the French Alps, to help decarbonise part of its steelmaking process. The plant will be supplied and installed by local green hydrogen producer Lhyfe.

Ugitech produces around 200,000 tonnes/year of steel. By replacing with green hydrogen the natural gas used in some of its thermoprocessing equipment including burners, reheating furnaces, and heat treatment furnaces, it expects to cut about 16,000t of annual CO2 emissions. The new unit is scheduled to produce up to 12 t/day of hydrogen for a maximum electrolysis capacity of 30 megawatts.

The green gas produced on-site will mostly be consumed by Ugitech. Lhyfe is also considering supplying hydrogen to local mobility and other industry players in the area. It intends to help develop the local hydrogen ecosystem, particularly in the run-up to the 2030 Winter Olympics.

The project is now entering the feasibility study phase, a source close to Lhyfe tells Kallanish. She adds the Ugitech project is still at an early stage of development and there is no date yet for the beginning of construction.

In parallel, Ugitech is coordinating the HYdreams project that kicked off in April 2023 and will end in 2027, supported by EU funds. HYdreams aims to demonstrate the feasibility of replacing natural gas with decarbonised hydrogen in reheating and heat treatment furnaces.

“Using laboratory tests and industrial demonstrators, this project … will verify that hydrogen combustion will have no negative impact on processes and products. The next step is to roll out this new solution to all systems for which direct electrification is not a compatible option,” the steelmaker said.

Natalia Capra France