Nippon Steel, the largest steelmaker in Japan, has announced it has reduced emissions from a small-scale test blast furnace by 33% through injecting heated hydrogen in a month-long trial, the highest cut in CO2 through this method yet.

While Nippon Steel has referred to purchasing H2 ‘from outside steelworks’ for the Super COURSE50 process, which aims to displace as much coking coal with hydrogen as possible, it has not disclosed what proportion of the molecule to coking coal was used in the blast furnace, nor whether it was produced from fossil gas or electrolysis.

Nippon Steel aims to reduce existing blast furnace emissions by 50% through hydrogen injection, and had previously announced it had cut CO2 by 22% from using the process in August.

The Japanese steelmaker plans to start using its COURSE 50 technology — which recycles hydrogen generated when coking coal is fired in a blast furnace for use as a reducing agent — at its No. 2 blast furnace in its East Nippon Works in Kimitsu from January 2026, and deploy the Super COURSE50 process of injecting externally-bought H2 by 2050.

Both of the hydrogen injection techniques had been developed with funding from research and development agency NEDO, which budgeted up to $1.3 billion for a wider Nippon Steel-run decarbonization programme.

Source: Hydrogen Insight