Steelmaking is one of the most carbon-intensive practices on the planet. On average, every ton of steel produced in 2018 emitted 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide, equating to about 8 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Traditionally made using an integrated blast furnace (BF) or basic oxygen furnace (BOF), steel has always required both iron and coal to produce.

As one of the most carbon-intensive practices on the planet, steelmaking is under pressure to decarbonise. with ​​electric arc furnaces (EAF) – using scrap steel or direct reduced iron (DRI) as their primary raw material –firming as a viable option.

Green hydrogen can be used in the EAF process and replaces fossil fuels in the DRI production stage.

This combination represents a technically proven production method, enabling almost emission-free steel production.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

Fortescue to pursue ‘Net Zero Steel.’

Green Steel will receive a boost through a recently announced industrial-scale pilot program.

The deal is between Primetals Technologies, Mitsubishi Corporation, Fortescue Metals, and the globally leading steel and technology group voestalpine.

It aims to design and engineer a prototype plant with a new method for net-zero-emission ironmaking at the voestalpine site in Linz, Austria.

The collaboration will also examine the commission and operation of the plant.

The new ironmaking process will be centred on Primetals Technologies’ HYFOR and Smelter solutions.

At a glance:

HYFOR is the world’s first direct reduction process for iron ore fines, eliminating sintering and pelletising.

A pilot plant has been operating since the end of 2021.

Primetals Technologies has run multiple successful test runs over the last year, including trials on Fortescue’s Pilbara iron ore products.

The new Smelter technology from Primetals Technologies is a furnace powered by electrical energy.

It is used for melting and final reduction of direct reduced iron (DRI) based on lower-grade iron ores.

The collaboration hopes to produce alternative green hot metal for the steelmaking plant.

Fortescue supplies an industrial-sized prototype.

Fortescue’s primary responsibility in the new partnership will be providing knowledge on iron ore quality and preparation.

In addition, Fortescue will supply different iron ores for the new plant.

The project planning phase will help to design an industrial-scale prototype plant with production of between three and five tons of green hot metal per hour.

It’s the first solution to connect a hydrogen-based direct reduction plant for fine iron ore with a smelter.

The main goal of the planning phase is to develop the basis for a prototype plant capable of continuous operation and gain the know-how needed for the next step, a full-scale commercial plant.

Another target is to explore the use of various classes of iron ores to produce DRI, hot briquet iron (HBI), and hot metal alongside different combinations.

Hydrogen used in the new plant will primarily arrive from Verbund, voestalpine’s and Austria’s leading renewable energy producer.

Verbund operates a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser named H2Future. Located in Linz.

The site has a capacity of more than six megawatts and remains the largest used in a steel plant worldwide.

The H2Future plant will be upgraded to permit the compression and storage of hydrogen gas for use in the combined HYFOR and Smelter units.


Green steel, produced using hydrogen, has taken another step forward as a new industrial-sized pilot plant will be commissioned.

A partnership that includes Australia’s Fortescue Metals will seek to prove the continuous operation of the plant while producing 2 to 5 tonnes of green hot metal per hour.

As the energy transition continues to heat up, GRT will be on hand with modern and sophisticated dust suppression solutions to help miners do what they do best.

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