Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will soon complete construction in Austria of the world's largest carbon-free steel plant.
Mitsubishi Heavy, through its UK division, is building a pilot plant at the Austrian steel company Voestalpine. Trial operation is scheduled to begin in 2021.
The plant will use hydrogen instead of coal in the iron ore recovery process. The new generation equipment will produce 250,000 tons of steel products per year.
According to the International Energy Agency, the global steel industry produced about 2 billion tonnes of CO 2 in 2018, which is double the 2000 level. The share of the steel sector among all industries increased by 5 percentage points to 25%.
Mitsubishi Heavy uses the DRI or Direct Reduction of Iron from Pellet process.
Mitsubishi Heavy, the third largest supplier of steelmaking equipment in the world, also joins the pool of hydrogen companies. In October, Mitsubishi Heavy bought a stake in a Norwegian hydrogen plant.
Mitsubishi Heavy also decided to acquire stakes in hydrogen producers in places such as Australia. The group will oversee the supply of hydrogen, as well as the construction and design of equipment.
In July, the European Union announced its readiness to invest 470 billion euros in hydrogen technologies by 2050. Hydrogen steel plants are expected to receive EU support.