An EU-funded flagship project for a carbon dioxide (CO2)-reduced energy future and the decarbonisation of steel production is taking shape.

Yesterday, at the veostalpine site in Linz, Austria, the H2FUTURE project consortium, consisting of voestalpine, Siemens, VERBUND and Austrian Power Grid, together with research partners K1-MET and ECN, officially gave the go-ahead for construction of the world’s largest pilot facility for the production of ‘green’ hydrogen (H2). With a capacity of six MW, this will be the most effective and advanced plant of its type.

By 2050, the central climate goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by around 80%. This requires both energy suppliers and industry to prepare themselves and explore new pathways together. This is the role of the H2FUTURE research project.

More than 600 billion cubic metres of H2 are used annually worldwide, more than 95% of which is produced via a CO2-intensive process.

What will be the world’s largest and most advanced plant of its type for generating ‘green’, CO2-free H2, will be built at the voestalpine premises in Linz.

Once completed, the EU-funded €18m ($22.3m) project will be used to test the potential applications for green H2 in the various process stages of steel production, and integration into the power reserve markets for the power grid. For the industry, transport, and energy sectors, CO2-free H2 is an important source of energy for sector coupling and can significantly contribute to achieving the climate goals. The new plant is designed to be a technological milestone on the pathway to the energy transition, and thus to the gradual decarbonisation of the steel industry.

Following the launch of the project at the beginning of 2017, construction of the facility has now accelerated. The foundations are in place and construction of the hall is currently underway. The core electrolysis components will be delivered during the summer, with the plant going live within a year. The start of the comprehensive two-year test program is planned for spring 2019.

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Source: voestalpine

From left to right: Wolfgang Hesoun, Chairman of the Managing Board of Siemens AG Österreich; Herbert Eibensteiner, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Steel Division; Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU); Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG; Wolfgang Anzengruber, CEO of VERBUND.