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Steelmaker strives for net-zero steel

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A reheated slab being descaled on exit from the furnace at Teesside Beam Mill

British Steel is conducting a major study into the use of green hydrogen in the company’s drive to decarbonise its operations and manufacture net-zero steel.

The steelmaker, which is collaborating with EDF UK, UCL (University College London) and the Materials Processing Institute, has pledged to deliver net-zero steel by 2050 and significantly reduce its CO2 intensity by 2030 and 2035.

To support its ambitious plans, it has secured funding from the UK Government for a feasibility study into switching from natural gas to green hydrogen as a fuel source for re-heating furnaces.

If the study is successful, British Steel will undertake an industrial-scale demonstration, which could see the technology developed and rolled out across all its operations including its main manufacturing base in Scunthorpe. It could also be adopted by other UK steelmakers.

British Steel’s Environment & 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.”

British Steel won funding for the research from the UK Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP). With its partners, it is now undertaking a six-month study based on operations at its Teesside Beam Mill.

The study 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. Tees Green Hydrogen will supply local business customers with hydrogen to support decarbonisation efforts and a significant reduction in industrial pollution.

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