Salzgitter AG is one of Europe's leading steel and technology groups. We operate our integrated steelworks in Salzgitter on a virtually energy autonomous basis and close material loops by reusing residual material and cogenerated products. We are meanwhile working very close to the limits of what science and technology permits, which puts us among the world’s most efficient producers of steel.
Nevertheless production in our Salzgitter steelworks generates around eight million tons of CO2 a year, made unavoidable by processes and by the current status of technical conditions and the facilities available. In order to lower our CO2 emissions, we want to test out new approaches and research innovative process technologies.
Under the project name of SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) we are working with our partners on the question of how we can use hydrogen in our production to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions.
The concept was developed together with our partners in 2015. It includes hydrogen generation and the conversion of steel production from blast furnaces to direct reduction, initially based on natural gas but later on hydrogen. With a complete switch to direct reduction plants, hydrogen can completely replace the carbon previously required for steel production and thus reduce our CO2 emissions by over 95%. By setting ourselves the goal of avoiding CO2 directly rather than storing it or making it usable at great expense (carbon direct avoidance strategy), our concept is sustainable and sets an example for the industry.
SALCOS® encompasses various aspects that are seamlessly intertwined. For several years, we have been gathering important knowledge for the planned large-scale operation of SALCOS® through various projects. With the WindH2 project, for example, we are gaining important experience in the production of green hydrogen based on wind power. In GrInHy 2.0, we are looking at technologies for the efficient production of green hydrogen. With µDRAL we are initiating the conversion of the blast furnace route to direct reduction plants - and will ultimately be able to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions.
SALCOS® is our key to low-CO2 steel production and at the same time a way of safeguarding the future of the Salzgitter steel site and jobs. This concept, which is of utmost importance to us, is something we would also like to bring closer to you in image and sound and share the milestones we have achieved with you.