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Saarstahl and Dillinger partner with Paul Wurth in H2Syngas project

In Germany, Stahl-Holding-Saar (SHS) steel producers Saarstahl AG and AG der Dillinger Hüttenwerke have joined with Paul Wurth S.A, a Luxembourg-headed international engineering company belonging to the SMS Group to use their own process gases and significant quantities of hydrogen in the blast furnace process. The associated pilot plant, which is being built within the H2Syngas project and in cooperation with Paul Wurth, is scheduled to begin operating this summer.

Founded in 1981, ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar mbH, Dillingen, is a 50/50 joint subsidiary of AG der Dillinger Hüttenwerke, Dillingen, and Saarstahl AG, Völklingen, and currently produces up to 4.6 million tonnes of hot metal each year produced exclusively for the two shareholding companies. The production program also includes crushed blast furnace slag as well as granulated blast furnace slag. As part of the joint H2Syngas project, the owners intend to work with Paul Wurth to install a pilot dry reforming process to use hydrogen-enriched blast furnace gas as a reducing agent (photo courtesy ROGESA).

H2Syngas is one of the leading projects of the overarching cross-border hydrogen project in the Saar region, that aims to establish a green hydrogen economy in Saarland, France, and Luxembourg. The various sub-projects are collectively initiating a sustainable transformation process in the industrial and mobility sectors with the emerging emission-free technologies driving structural change in the border region.

As industrial customers, the Saarland steel companies Dillinger and Saarstahl are playing a key role here in the strategic development. Dillinger is a world leader in the manufacture of heavy steel plates for steel construction, machine manufacturing, offshore, offshore wind power, and line pipe sectors.

Saarstahl is a world leader in the manufacture of wire rods, and bar steel for the automotive industry, the construction industry, and general machine manufacturing. Both companies belong to Stahl-Holding-Saar (SHS).

Test novel dry reforming process

As part of the joint H2Syngas project, which is seeking European Commission Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) funding from the German government, the steel companies intend to continue working with Paul Wurth to develop the technology of using their own process gases for a blast furnace of ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar mbH, a jointly held subsidiary of Dillinger and Saarstahl.

The new so-called dry reforming process developed by Paul Wurth enables the gas produced in the coke oven to be converted into a hot reduction gas, or “syngas”. This gas is enriched with hydrogen and then used as a reducing agent for the reduction of iron ores.

Injecting the hot reducing gas into the blast furnace leads to a significant reduction in coke consumption and thus to a reduction in overall carbon emissions.

With this innovative technology, the steel companies are further reducing carbon emissions and taking the next important step toward carbon-neutral steel production.

The use of process gases for metallurgical purposes makes it possible to cut carbon emissions by up to 12 percent. By using hydrogen, we can further improve and actually nearly double the potential reduction of carbon. The creation of adequate energy infrastructure is a precondition for this. With the H2Syngas innovation project, we are rigorously pursuing the path toward green steel production explained Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Dillinger and Saarstahl.

Pilot plant summer 2021

The first phase of the project will involve the construction of a pilot plant to test the dry reforming process on a small scale. For the development and construction of this pilot plant, the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy awarded Paul Wurth a grant under the applicable R&D aid scheme.

The pilot plant is scheduled to begin operating in the summer of 2021. In the next project phases, the process will be further developed to semi-industrial and later to industrial scale with support from public funding. The aim is for larger quantities of synthesis gas to be produced and injected into a blast furnace

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