One of the world’s largest industrial decarbonisation projects gets underway

Steelmaker announces world-first ‘green’ steel plant.

Thyssenkrupp Steel is planning a hydrogen-powered direct reduction plant in Duisburg, Germany, saying it is the start of the biggest industrial decarbonisation projects worldwide which will ultimately avoid more than 3.5 million tons of CO2 per year.

Germany’s biggest steelmaker has placed an order with SMS, Düsseldorf, for the engineering, delivery and construction of the EUR 1.8 billion facility. The plant will have a capacity of 2.5 million tons of directly reduced iron (DRI) and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2026. The overall project remains subject to European Union approval under state aid provisions.

The contract award is seen as a ‘decisive technological turnaround’ in Thyssenkrupp Steel’s more than 200-year history. Hydrogen-based processes in DRI offer a significant basis for manufacturing carbon-neutral steel. Thyssenkrupp Steel is planning to avoid as much as six million tons of CO2 by 2030, more than 30% of its emissions. The transformation to carbon-neutral production is expected to be completed by 2045 at the latest.

SMS employs 14 500 people at around 100 locations. The order is the largest single order in the company’s history spanning more than 150 years.

Bernhard Osburg, CEO of Thyssenkrupp Steel, says: “It is a historic day for Thyssenkrupp Steel and good news for industrial climate change mitigation. Together with SMS we intend to demonstrate that an innovative and sustainable transformation of the steel industry is possible in Germany and Europe. We are thus creating the basis for tomorrow’s green steel markets.”

Thyssenkrupp says it will be the first steelmaker in the world to combine a 100% hydrogen-capable direct reduction plant with innovative melters. Positioning two melters immediately adjacent to the direct reduction plant, allows the solid input stock produced there to be converted into molten iron immediately and more efficiently. SMS will also deliver the innovative melters, slag granulation and other auxiliary equipment, for example water recycling.

Detailed planning and preparatory work for construction of the direct reduction plant will commence immediately. One task involves getting the construction site ready on the plant premises.

The innovative concept ensures consistently high product quality. This is because it is seamlessly integrated into the existing iron and steel plant, thereby allowing all subsequent process steps from the steel mill onward to be maintained. As a result, the existing plant structure can be used efficiently. Customers will continue to receive the complete, high-quality product portfolio with the premium quality they are accustomed to.