UK grants hydrogen-for-steel project funding

The UK government is backing two hydrogen-for-steelmaking projects with a new round of public funding announced, Kallanish reports.

The awards include £399,852 ($487,226) to E.ON UK CHP Ltd and £173,141 to Nanomox Ltd. The former, known as HYDESS Project, seeks to determine the feasibility of end-to-end hydrogen production, transport, and end-use in the steel manufacturing industry. The latter entails a feasibility study to produce hydrogen from steelmaking waste and use it as green fuel for steel production.

The innovative projects were selected as part of a £2.95 million round benefitting nine projects, under the £26m Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme.

Nanomox intends to check the viability of its Oxidative Ionothermal Synthesis (OIS) technology, which uses green catalytic solvents at low temperatures to complete the direct oxidation of metals, to convert steelmaking waste into saleable materials for industrial use. Hydrogen is co-produced as part of the process, which could also produce zinc oxide from zinc/iron rich sludge – a legacy issue in the country. The UK is estimated to have roughly 6.7m tonnes of sludge stockpiled currently, with 90,000t produced annually.

Eventually, Nanomox plans to test the process at the Materials Processing Institute steelmaking pilot works using an OIS zinc removal pilot plan and facility for oxyhydrogen combustion and testing in 400-kilowatt burners. Subject to further funding approval, the company then would scale up to repeat waste sludge treatment and the use of hydrogen at 1.2-megawatt scale within an operational steel plant.

“Successful outcomes will reduce CO2 emissions of steel manufacturing whilst improving profitability and environmental credentials,” the company says. “The combination of mandated remediation of ongoing and legacy steelmaking waste, plus direct use of co-produced hydrogen offers a double benefit with significant cost and energy efficiencies.”

Meanwhile, the HYDESS Project led by E.ON in partnership with large scale steel manufacturers in the Sheffield area, seeks to establish feasibility of using H2 for fuelling steel reheat and heat treatment furnaces. The proposed proof of concept demo project would replace natural gas by green hydrogen produced at E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows biomass power station.

It will cover production, distribution and innovative use of hydrogen for different offtakers. There is also interest in monitoring the impact on product quality and on forging and heating processes; and the high-pressure hydrogen cylinders used to transport the hydrogen. If the consortium can scale the project with a larger electrolyser and delivery of hydrogen via pipeline, its scope in Sheffield can be expanded. Yet, the goal is for the project to become a blueprint for other sites across the country, the companies say.

Gabriela Farhangi UK