Mitsubishi Heavy Industries improving hydrogen ironmaking process
Recently, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. plans to build ironmaking equipment in Europe that uses hydrogen instead of coke. The project will be promoted in cooperation with Austrian Voestalpine Group, and is expected to start operation in 2021. After operation, it is expected that the annual output of steel can reach 250,000 tons, making it the world's largest hydrogen ironmaking facility.
According to the statistics of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the total carbon dioxide emissions of the steel industry in 2018 were about 2 billion tons, twice the emissions in 2000. From the perspective of the entire industrial structure, the steel industry's emissions accounted for 25%, an increase of 5% over the same period. Therefore, since Europe put climate warming countermeasures into a very important position in its regional growth strategy, in order to achieve greenhouse gas reduction as soon as possible, it has been accelerating the practical use of hydrogen energy in ironmaking.
At present, in terms of hydrogen energy ironmaking technology, many iron and steel enterprises represented by Japanese ironmaking are developing hydrogen energy ironmaking technology based on blast furnace equipment. However, the investment in new blast furnace equipment that uses hydrogen energy to make iron is very huge, reaching about 4 billion yuan. Although DRI ironmaking has less capacity than blast furnace ironmaking, the investment in new equipment is only half of that of the blast furnace, which is conducive to popularization in the initial stage. In addition, compared with the traditional ironmaking method, in order to make the products that use hydrogen energy to make iron have the same price competitiveness, cheap hydrogen supply is very important. According to the calculations of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the circulating price of hydrogen in Japan is about 100 yen/Nm3 (about 6.3 yuan). It is expected that by expanding production in the future, a price level of 30 yen/Nm3 (about 1.9 yuan) can be achieved in 2030. The price of hydrogen for the steel industry needs to be cut by another 10 yen on this basis.
At present, the metallurgical equipment manufacturing and service providers SMS group of Germany and Danieli Group of Italy have begun to promote the hydrogen energy ironmaking business. ArcelorMittal, a European steel manufacturer, has proposed a plan to construct a hydrogen-powered ironmaking facility in Germany in 2021. In addition, ThyssenKrupp and Salzgitter also launched related investments in DRI.