Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH (SZFG) has awarded the contract to build a 2.2 MW Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis plant to Siemens Gas and Power, marking an important step towards hydrogen-based steelmaking.
A containerized plant will be erected in Salzgitter, which at full capacity will produce 400 Nm³ of hydrogen. The plant is due to commence operation in the 4th quarter of 2020 and cover SZFG’s entire current demand for hydrogen.
The necessary electrical power will be generated by seven wind turbines with a capacity of 30 MW. These will be erected by Avacon AG on the Salzgitter Group site and will likewise enter service from 2020.
PEM technology is ideally suited to exploiting the volatile generation of wind and solar power. The highly dynamic mode of operation allows the plants to respond to demands resulting from the rapidly fluctuating power supply.
Salzgitter AG executive board chairman professor Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann commented: “We are proud to be pioneers in the industrial application of hydrogen in the steel industry. As our SALCOS project has demonstrated, we are technologically in a position to achieve significant reductions in CO2 with the aid of hydrogen. The Salzgitter Wind Hydrogen project is an important building block on the way towards climate-friendly steel production. It is now the turn of politicians to put in place the right conditions to support the transformation into a low-CO2 industry.”
The cost of the project as a whole – including the construction of the wind turbines and the hydrogen plant and connecting these to the existing supply networks – amounts to around 50 million euro ($50m).
Gabriele Schmiedel, executive vice president, Hydrogen Solutions at Siemens Gas and Power, explained: “Reducing CO2 across all industries is a central challenge if we are to meet medium- and long-term climate targets. Renewable energy generation and innovative technologies such as the production of green hydrogen through electrolysis are essential components. We are delighted to join with Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH to advance the application of green hydrogen in the steel industry.”
Hydrogen has long played a role in steelmaking, in enhancing the quality of annealing processes. The gas is currently supplied by Linde AG, and this company will in future continue to safeguard Salzgitter’s own production.
Image credit: Siemens