May 18, 2022

POSCO aims to operate an environmentally friendly steel production system using hydrogen in 2027

[Courtesy of POSCO]

SEOUL – South Korean steelmaker POSCO aims to commission an environmentally friendly steel production system using hydrogen as a reducing agent in 2027 as part of efforts to decarbonize and achieve net carbon emissions. carbon zero by 2050. Normally, furnaces use coal as a reducing agent to separate oxygen from iron ore.

“We envision a one-million-ton demonstration plant from 2023 as a nationwide task and aim to actually operate it in 2027,” POSCO Steel Sector Chief Kim Hak-dong said during a briefing. an online press conference on September 29. 40 trillion won ($33.8 billion) to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

POSCO is making green hydrogen one of its new growth engines. The group aims to produce up to 500,000 tons of blue hydrogen by 2030 and to complete a five million ton green hydrogen production system by 2050. “It technically takes a long time for neutrality carbon,” Kim said, appealing for government support. .

In August, POSCO teamed up with its Australian raw materials supplier, Roy Hill Holdings, to establish a cooperative carbon emissions reduction system. They agreed on joint research to develop an optimal hot briquetted iron (HBI) production system. HBI produces steel products after making reduced iron without carbon dioxide emission by using hydrogen as a deoxidizing agent.

POSCO and Roy Hill are reportedly working to develop technology to capture, use and store the carbon that occurs during the production of blue hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas with carbon capture technology while green hydrogen is produced from water using renewable energy.

“Steelmaking using hydrogen as a reducing agent is a breakthrough technology that is writing new history, but the development process is expensive and time-consuming,” said Lee Duk-lak, director of the technical research center from POSCO, suggesting that the steel company is ready to open up part of its FINEX method as a technology platform.

In the FINEX process, molten iron is produced directly using iron ore fines and non-coking coal rather than traditional blast furnace methods of sintering and reduction with coke. The elimination of preliminary treatment makes the construction of FINEX less expensive than a blast furnace installation of the same scale. The process is claimed to produce fewer pollutants.

POSCO has decided to adopt the so-called HyREX method using hydrogen, Lee said, adding that it is more cost effective than the method adopted by European steelmakers who process iron ore into balls and add hydrogen. hydrogen heated from below. When the hydrogen and oxygen in the iron ore react, the reduced iron sinks and the water vapor flies up.

POSCO’s method removes fine fractions of iron and heated hydrogen. “POSCO’s technology applied with FINEX has great economic advantages because it can use fine iron ore without pre-treatment,” Lee said.

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