British Steel is embarking on a major project that could see green hydrogen used to clean up its manufacturing operations.

Government support for a feasibility study into the switching from natural gas to re-heat furnaces has been secured.

If successful, an industrial scale demonstration will be rolled out, which could see the Scunthorpe-headquartered business roll out the developed technology across all sites.

The company is collaborating with EDF UK, University College London and the Materials Processing Institute, having pledged to deliver net zero steel by 2050 and significantly reduce its CO2 intensity along the way.

“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. ''

British Steel’s environment and sustainability director, Lee Adcock

British Steel’s environment and sustainability director, Lee Adcock, 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. This study is, therefore, a vital and hugely exciting step on our journey to developing the technology needed to transform the way we, and other steel manufacturers, operate.

“We’re extremely grateful for the government’s support and look forward to working with our partners to reduce the carbon intensity of our operations, enabling us to manufacture the clean, green steel society needs,” Adcock added.

Research funding was secured from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. With partners, a six-month study is to launch at the company’s Teesside Beam Mill.

It 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.

“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.''

British Steel’s head of research and development, Dr Gari Harris

British Steel’s head of research and development, Dr Gari Harris, said: “As part of the feasibility study, EDF UK will carry out a techno-economic 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.

Harris continued; “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.”

Major plans for green hydrogen production are also in play on the Humber, where British Steels main site sits, together with the grid connections of the world's two largest offshore wind farms.

“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.''

Energy and climate change minister, Greg Hands

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. This investment will help them to not only cut emissions, but also save money on energy bills, on top of supporting jobs by encouraging green innovation across in the UK.”

Source: Business Live