Liberty Steel Group, a member of the GFG Alliance, the leader of the sustainable development industry represented by Sanjeev Gupta, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Paul Wurth and Stahl-Holding-Saar (SHS) to assess construction and operation an industrial scale hydrogen plant at the Dunkerk steel plant in France. If developed, the plant will be one of the first of its kind in France.
The Pan-European Partnership will work together on a project to include a 2 Mt Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) plant with an integrated 1 GW hydrogen electrolysis plant adjacent to the GFG ALVANCE Aluminum Dunkerque facility. The DRI plant will initially use a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas as a reducing agent for the production of direct reduced iron and hot briquetted iron (HBI), and then, once the electrolysis plant is completed, it will switch to 100% hydrogen. The DRI /HBI produced will be mainly used in the LIBERTY Ascoval electric arc furnace in France, but any surplus will be used at the LIBERTY smelters in Ostrava and Galati, as well as at the Dillinger and Saarstahl factories of the SHS group in Germany.
LIBERTY has been working with Paul Wurth and SHS on the technical and economic viability of the project since the beginning of last year. Now that the initial feasibility study has proven successful, the partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that covers two phases:
• Phase 1 – will improve the accuracy of the commercial and technical feasibility of the project, including the composition of the reducing gas, potential partners (power supply, hydrogen production and operation, DRI /HBI equipment) and funding opportunities. This phase is expected to take about 12 weeks; and
• Phase 2 – Provide the level of detail required (technically and financially) to effectively deliver the project. This stage will be identified as part of stage 1.
Between them, partners are strategically focused on developing technologies that will enable the steel industry to achieve its ambitious environmental goals, with LIBERTY pursuing carbon neutrality programs around the world as part of its ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Paul Wurth is a Luxembourg based company. as well as a member of the SMS group, which has established itself as a builder and service provider. Through a partnership with Sunfire, a German technology provider that develops highly efficient electrolysers for highly efficient hydrogen production, Paul Würth aims to bring this technology to an industrial level. SHS – together with Dillinger and Saarstahl – a German steel producer. The SHS Group is committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and is committed to producing cast iron and steel with reduced CO2 emissions. The partners will consider using other hydrogen producers in the project.
Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman of GFG Alliance and LIBERTY Steel Group, said: “This project will realize the potential of steel and hydrogen working together to solve each other’s problems. Our industry is in need of a rapid rethinking of steelmaking as the need to reduce emissions becomes more urgent amid growing global demand for our products and regulatory pressure to reduce carbon emissions. Making hydrogen steel can solve this problem, and we are committed to partnering with like-minded people to make it happen. France is the perfect place to try, thanks to its strong industrial heritage, skilled workforce and low carbon energy infrastructure. Together with these technologically advanced and dedicated partners, we look forward to exploring the potential for truly carbon neutral steel production.