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Carbon Footprint Assessment of Hydrogen and Steel


Hydrogen has the potential to decarbonize a variety of energy-intensive sectors, including steel production. Using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, the state of the art is given for current hydrogen production with a focus on the hydrogen carbon footprint. Beside the state of the art, the outlook on different European scenarios up to the year 2040 is presented. A case study of the transformation of steel production from coal-based towards hydrogen- and electricity-based metallurgy is presented. Direct reduction plants with integrated electric arc furnaces enable steel production, which is almost exclusively based on hydrogen and electricity or rather on electricity alone, if hydrogen stems from electrolysis. Thus, an integrated steel site has a demand of 4.9 kWh of electric energy per kilogram of steel. The carbon footprint of steel considering a European sustainable development scenario concerning the electricity mix is 0.75 kg CO2eq/kg steel in 2040. From a novel perspective, a break-even analysis is given comparing the use of natural gas and hydrogen using different electricity mixes. The results concerning hydrogen production presented in this paper can also be transferred to application fields other than steel.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

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