BHP, Linde see high steel decarbonization costs for hydrogen DRI

BHP Group expects higher energy costs to limit initial expansion in new green hydrogen steelmaking, with alternative routes to decarbonization and fossil-fuel reduction using gases driving emissions cuts, a company executive said July 15.

Hydrogen-based direct-reduced iron may be a key “long-term pathway” for the steel industry, and could make a meaningful contribution to steelmaking emissions cuts in the 2050s, Ivan Bondarenko, BHP’s head of marketing strategy for coal, said in a presentation.

In the meantime, optimizing the existing blast furnace and ferrous scrap routes to cut emissions remains likely: green DRI will consume vast renewables capacity to replace pig iron production, which is not yet assured, according to steel, coal and coke and gas industry executives.

“The real challenge with this technology are the broad system infrastructure requirements needed to deliver vast quantities of green hydrogen,” Bondarenko told the webcast S&P Global Platts Singapore Coking Coal Conference.

Blast furnace injection with different reformed gases, replacing oil and natural gas with hydrogen for heating and other steel processes, and improving steel raw materials preparation may substantially cut emissions.

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