Thyssenkrupp Steel placed an order with SMS group for the engineering, delivery and construction of a hydrogen-powered direct-reduction plant for its site in Duisburg, Germany. According to thyssenkrupp Steel, the project will avoid more than 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 per year in the future. The order volume for SMS amounts to approximately $1.9 billion, making it the largest single order in the history of the company. The plant will have a capacity of 2.5 million metric tons of direct-reduced iron (DRI) and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2026.

Up to this point, coal-based hot iron production in the blast furnace always involved emitting large amounts of CO2, amounting to about 20 million metric tons per year from the Duisburg location alone. Hydrogen-based processes in direct-reduction plants offer a basis for manufacturing carbon-neutral steel in the future. Thyssenkrupp Steel is already planning to avoid as much as 6 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030, representing in excess of 30% of its emissions. The transformation to carbon-neutral production should be completed by 2045. 

According to thyssenkrupp, it will be the first steelmaker in the world to combine a 100% hydrogen-capable direct-reduction plant with melters. Positioning the two melters immediately adjacent to the direct-reduction plant allows the solid input stock produced there to be converted into molten iron immediately. The 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. SMS will deliver the melters, slag granulation and other auxiliary equipment.