Lhyfe, a producer of green and renewable hydrogen, and Ugitech, a subsidiary of Swiss Steel Group, the long stainless-steel maker, have signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a green hydrogen production unit at Ugitech’s Ugine site (Savoie, France), to decarbonize the steelmaker’s industrial operations.

This, claims is the first agreement in Europe to replace fossil fuels with green hydrogen in the stainless-steel sector.

Swiss Steel Group has decided to use green hydrogen at the Ugitech plant in Ugine, to replace the natural gas used in some of its thermoprocessing equipment (burners, reheating furnaces, heat treatment furnaces, etc.) and thus decarbonzse part of its industrial processes. The steelmaker, which produces around 200kt of steel a year, could avoid emitting 16kt of CO2 a year.

Lhyfe, which is signing its first memorandum of understanding with a steel manufacturer, already has three production sites and is currently building several sites in Europe.

Lhyfe plans to install a green hydrogen production unit with a capacity up to 12 tonnes per day (a maximum electrolysis capacity of 30 MW), at the Ugitech plant. This green hydrogen would be used mainly at the Ugitech plant, supplied via a pipeline.

The two partners are now entering the feasibility study phase of the project. Implementation of the project will be subject to the conclusions of this study, the granting of operating licences and building permits, and financial investment decisions.

''The steel sector is a major consumer of fossil fuels and is one of the industrial sectors that should be decarbonized as a priority.''

Philippe Desorme, vice chief executive officer, Lhyfe

Philippe Desorme, vice chief executive officer at Lhyfe: “We are delighted to sign this memorandum of understanding with Ugitech, whose commitment to decarbonization we commend. The steel sector is a major consumer of fossil fuels and is one of the industrial sectors that should be decarbonized as a priority. The energy transition is going to become increasingly necessary to ensure the long-term survival of our industries, and green hydrogen is emerging as one of the pillars of this transition. It can and must now be deployed as quickly as possible, including in the steel sector”.

''This project...will verify that hydrogen combustion will have no negative impact on processes and products.''

Frédéric Perret, director of development, Ugitech

Frédéric Perret, director of development at Ugitech: “Ugitech is co-ordinating the HYDREAMS project, which aims to demonstrate the feasibility of substituting natural gas with decarbonised hydrogen in thermal steel transformation processes (reheating and heat treatment furnaces). HYDREAMS has nine European partners and has received a grant from the European RFCS fund. Using laboratory tests and industrial demonstrators, this project, which started in April 2023 and ends in October 2027, will verify that hydrogen combustion will have no negative impact on processes and products. The next step is to roll out this new solution to all systems for which direct electrification is not a compatible option. This is the purpose of this MoU with Lhyfe.”