Germany’s Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH awarded a contract to build a 2.2-MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis plant to Siemens Gas and Power, marking an important step toward hydrogen-based steelmaking. The plant is due to commence operation in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will cover Salzgitter’s entire current demand for hydrogen. The necessary electrical power will be generated by seven wind turbines.

Hydrogen has long played a role in steelmaking, particularly in enhancing the quality of annealing processes. The gas is currently supplied by Linde AG. A containerized plant will be erected in Salzgitter that will produce 400 Nm3 of hydrogen at full capacity. PEM technology is ideally suited to exploiting the volatile generation of wind and solar power. The dynamic mode of operation allows steel plants to respond to demands resulting from the rapidly fluctuating power supply.