British Steel is conducting a major study into the use of green hydrogen in the company’s drive to decarbonise its operations and manufacture net-zero steel.
The steelmaker, which is collaborating with EDF UK, UCL (University College London) and the Materials Processing Institute, has pledged to deliver net-zero steel by 2050 and significantly reduce its CO2 intensity by 2030 and 2035.
If the study is successful, British Steel will undertake an industrial-scale demonstration, which could see the technology developed and rolled out across all its operations, including its main manufacturing base in Scunthorpe. It could also be adopted by other UK steelmakers.
British Steel won funding for the research from the UK Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP). The NZIP funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) provides low-carbon technologies and systems funding. Decreasing the costs of decarbonisation, the Portfolio will help enable the UK to end its contribution to climate change. British Steel is now undertaking a 6-month study based on operations at its Teesside Beam Mill with its partners.
The study links into the Tees Green Hydrogen project – a pioneering scheme that will use green electricity from the nearby Teesside Offshore Wind Farm along with a new solar farm, which EDF Renewables UK intends to construct near Redcar, to power its hydrogen electrolyser. Tees Green Hydrogen will supply local business customers with hydrogen to support decarbonisation efforts and a significant reduction in industrial pollution.
Together the partners will carry out an assessment of the economic viability and environmental impact of switching from natural gas to hydrogen in defined aspects of steel manufacturing. The Materials Processing Institute and UCL will also play a role in aiding in the assessment of the product and process viability for British Steel.
This innovative study links into the Tees Green Hydrogen project led by EDF Renewables UK and Hynamics, which will be one of the first of its kind in England powered using green electricity from our Teesside offshore wind farm and our proposed new Tees solar plant.
The Materials Processing Institute research team will be supporting the project with a new computational fluid dynamics model for hydrogen combustion in heating furnaces, allied to our extensive experience of integrating new technologies into existing high volume high-temperature processes and managing transitions from development models to commercial reality.
Lee Adcock, British Steel’s Environment & Sustainability Director, said, “As an energy intensive industry with hard to abate emissions, the steel industry offers the potential for large CO2 emission savings through fuel switching from natural gas to hydrogen.”
Dr Gari Harris, British Steel’s Head of R&D, said, “As part of the feasibility study, EDF UK R&D will carry out a technoeconomic assessment of the methodology and practicality of delivery of green hydrogen for fuel switching into the steel manufacturing process, and British Steel will assess the technical implications of the fuel switch on both product and process.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said, “As we accelerate the UK’s energy independence by boosting clean, home-grown, affordable energy, it’s crucial that our industries reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.”
Patrick Dupeyrat, R&D Director of EDF UK, said, “We are delighted to be working with British Steel and the Materials Processing Institute in this important project which will play a major role in reducing emissions initially at British Steel’s plant in Teesside area, with the possibility of replication elsewhere in Britain and globally.”
Tristan Zipfel, EDF Renewables UK Director of Strategy and Analysis, said, “Our Tees Green Hydrogen and Tees Solar project is leading the way in supporting the Tees Valley to become a clean energy powerhouse – the go-to place for innovation and expertise in the hydrogen sector.”
Dr Yukun Hu, Associate Professor of Infrastructure Systems at UCL, said: “If the project is successful, the net-zero emission solution for steel heating proposed in this project will bring a major development to the steel industry and directly contribute to the UK’s target of carbon neutral iron and steelmaking.”
Mark Allan, Industrial Decarbonisation Group Manager at the Materials Processing Institute, said, “We developed the Hydrogen CFD model under the Innovate UK PRISM programme with just this kind of project in mind, and it is really exciting to be part of the vision for decarbonising a massive scale operation like the Beam Mill.”
Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said, “Steelmaking is in the blood of every Teessider and for generations steelmaking in Teesside has been at the forefront of innovation.”