SALCOS ProzessgrafikSALCOS Prozessgrafik


Our program SALCOS®

With SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking), we have laid the foundations for virtually climate-neutral steel production together with partners from industry and research. Central elements of the program are electricity from renewable sources and its use in the production of hydrogen by means of electrolysis. This green hydrogen will replace the coal that we currently use in the conventional blast furnace process. This will be possible with the help of so-called direct reduction plants, in which iron ore is reduced to iron directly in its solid-state using hydrogen. With this technology, water vapor is emitted instead of CO2.

To produce green steel, our SALCOS® program pursues the Carbon Direct Avoidance Strategy, which stands for avoiding the generation of CO2 in steel production from the outset. Overall, this will enable us to reduce our CO2 emissions by over 95 %.

How can hydrogen contribute to the production of green steel?

SALCOS® plans to use hydrogen for climate-neutral steel production. The process behind this can be explained as follows:  We currently produce pig iron by using coal in our blast furnaces. This process releases CO2. With direct reduction, however, iron ore is reduced using hydrogen. The hydrogen reacts with the oxygen in the iron ore (iron oxide) directly in the solid state and converts it into sponge iron (almost pure iron). Instead of CO2, this technology produces water (H2O), which in turn is used in the integrated process. In order to be able to process sponge iron further, the porous material is finally melted down together with steel scrap in an electric arc furnace.

Our SALCOS® program envisages gradually replacing our blast furnaces with direct reduction plants. The first of these plants could go into operation in 2026.

Classic blast furnace

Direct reduction

of production volume will be produced
as low-Co2 steel by pursuing the new
SALCOS® route from 2025 onwards

How do we produce green hydrogen?

Hydrogen production at Salzgitter Flachstahl

Hydrogen can be produced by means of electrolysis. In this chemical reaction, water is split into its components hydrogen and oxygen by means of electricity. It is beyond doubt for us that the electricity required for this must come from renewable energies such as wind power. For the production of green hydrogen, we erected seven wind turbines on our Group premises in Salzgitter under the project name "WindH2 - Wind Hydrogen Salzgitter", together with Avacon Natur GmbH. The green electricity generated by these plants is used to produce green hydrogen by means of PEM electrolysis.

Another electrolysis is being operated as part of the GrInHy2.0 project. The high-temperature electrolyzer is the largest of its kind in the world and operates highly efficiently. Unlike PEM electrolysis, the GrInHy2.0 electrolyzer uses steam from industrial waste heat from steel production. Both plants can cover today's hydrogen demand for annealing processes and for steel refining, thus displacing gray hydrogen generated from natural gas from our production. However, the quantity required for this is only a fraction of the hydrogen needed for SALCOS® implementation.

Focusing on the future - Our successes

SALCOS® is an extensive project. The path to climate-neutral steel production is therefore divided into various sub-steps. During our transformation process, we are celebrating many smaller and larger successes. In the Salzgitter Holding press releases, we keep you up to date on all developments relating to SALCOS® and green steel.

End of 2033

Full SALCOS® conversion: CO2 reduction up to 95%

End of 2030

Second SALCOS® expansion stage: 50% reduction in CO2 emissions


First SALCOS® expansion stage: CO2 reduction of 30%


BeWiser Continuation of the accompanying research


Construction of a demonstration plant for direct reduction in Salzgitter


Commissioning WindH2 electrolysis


Commissioning of world's largest high-temperature electrolysis (GrInHy2.0)


Commissioning "Windpark Salzgitter" (30 MW)


Start of SALCOS® accompanying research (BeWiSe, MACOR follow-up project)


Start GrInHy2.0


Start SALCOS® Feasibility Study (MACOR)


Start of research project GrInHy


Project start SALCOS®

Step by step to climate-neutral steel

Our climate-neutral steel production will take place in three expansion stages over the long term. These contain clearly defined targets for the coming years. By gradually replacing the blast furnaces currently in use with direct reduction plants and electric arc furnaces, we will already be in a technical position to cut emissions by around 95 % by the end of 2033.

This is a strong project that will enable us to achieve the key figures we have set ourselves and live up to our responsibility to this and future generations.

SALCOS®- First steps

The project modules at a glance

Our climate-neutral steel production comprises three central building blocks and is supported by various research projects. From hydrogen production and sector coupling to direct iron ore reduction, we are working together with various specialists.
The program is supported by extensive studies on technical and economic feasibility, which are used to define the necessary framework conditions for the production of green steel and to schedule the next steps.

01 / Sector coupling of renewable energies
01 / Sector coupling of renewable energies

WindH2 - Green power from wind energy

The "Windpark Salzgitter" was built as part of the WindH2 project to generate green electricity from wind power.

03 / Iron Ore Direct Reduction
03 / Iron Ore Direct Reduction

µDRAL - Step-by-step conversion to direct reduction plants

We are building the first iron ore direct reduction plant that can be operated flexibly with hydrogen and natural gas.

02 / Hydrogen production
02 / Hydrogen production

GrInHy - Green hydrogen through electrolysis

As part of the GrInHy 2.0 project, we built the world's most powerful high-temperature electrolyzer together with our partners.

04 / Research & Studies
04 / Research & Studies

BeWiSer – SALCOS® Accompanying Research

Together with the Fraunhofer Institute, we are optimizing the technical, economic and environmental aspects of the SALCOS® program.

Logo Fraunhofer
Logo Sunfire
Logo Tenova
Logo Avacon
Logo Uniper
Logo Rhenus
Logo Paul Wurth

Press commentary on SALCOS®

With the launch of the SALCOS® project and the associated pioneering position in the industry, we are also attracting a great deal of public attention. We are pleased about the growing interest in the topic of "green steel" through Carbon Direct Avoidance and about the fact that other steel manufacturers are also increasingly considering the path of climate-neutral steel production.

market STEEL Media GmbH


market STEEL Media

Die Salzgitter AG ist einer der führenden Stahl- und Technologie­konzerne Europas und einer der effizientesten Stahl­produzenten der Welt. Dennoch produziert...

Niedersächsisches Wasserstoff-Netzwerk


In the μDRAL project project of Salzgitter AG, the world's first direct reduction plant is being used in an integrated steel mill that can be operated flexibly with ...

Logo vom Leitprojekt TransHyDE


TransHyDE project

Video: Future dialog "Hydrogen location Salzgitter 2040" to formulate a common vision on 21 future topics to strengthen the hydrogen location and its competitiveness ...


In Salzgitter wird an der Zukunft des Stahlwerks gebaut. Ab 2033 soll es keine mit Kohle betriebenen Hochöfen mehr geben, um Stahl zu produzieren.


Die Maus |

In the video from 9m39s: 'Die Sendung mit der Maus' dedicates a factual story to our SALCOS® programme and the production of green steel at Salzgitter AG ...



As part of the eMove360 ° Europe 2021 international trade fair for mobility 4.0 electrically-networked-autonomous (November 16 to 18), the winners ...


Die deutsche Stahlindustrie muss umdenken. Auch die Salzgitter AG in Niedersachsen stößt noch riesige Mengen CO2 aus. Aber spätestens ...

EURACTIV Deutschland


EURACTIV Deutschland

Germany’s energy-intensive steel industry needs to reinvent itself so that it can meet European climate targets and remain competitive ...

Deutsche Welle


Deutsche Welle

Alle reden von einer Dekarbonisierung der Wirtschaft. Im Detail wird deutlich, welche Herkulesaufgabe das ist. Zum Beispiel bei der Herstellung von …

Spiegel Online


Spiegel Online

Wasserstoff, hergestellt aus Ökostrom, ist für die Industrie nahezu die einzige Möglichkeit, klimaneutral zu wirtschaften. Der Aufwand für ...

Clean Wire Energy


Clean Wire Energy

Volker Hille’s passion project could cut Germany’s entire CO2 output by almost one percent. He is head of corporate technology at Salzgitter Group ...

less CO2 emissions
in steel production

We make the difference -
for the environment

Our commitment to people, the environment and society

You can't see the difference, but it will be significant for our environment. While our products will remain of the usual highest quality, with the switch to low CO2 production our emissions will be significantly reduced. We have a clear target in at least 95% less CO2 emissions in steel production.

Sustainable solutions and products

Well equipped for the energy carrier of the future

Mannesmann H2ready® – pipes for the transport and storage of hydrogen

The safe transportation of hydrogen will play a central role in an increasingly renewable energy mix of the future. With its "Mannesmann H2ready®" steel pipes, Mannesmann Line Pipe GmbH has developed a product specifically for the transportation and storage of hydrogen. The mechanical and technological properties of the steel pipes exceed the requirements of the EIGA directive and therefore offer optimum safety and service life.

More about Mannesmann Innovations
Green flat steel from Salzgitter

Flat steel products with significantly lower CO2 footprint

With SALCOS®, Salzgitter AG will gradually convert its steel production to hydrogen-based processes. But the Salzgitter Group is already producing low-CO2 flat steel. The cooperation of the scrap-based electric furnace route at the Peine plant with the further processing of the Salzgitter plant results in high-quality flat steel products in a differentiated range of dimensions and grades with a significantly reduced CO2 footprint...

More about Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH
Safe H2 infrastructure and mobility

Hydrogen: a safe bet!

Hydrogen is an important element in the success of the energy transition. Along the entire value chain, Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH is involved in joint projects on safe hydrogen infrastructure, production and hydrogen-based steel production.
It supports its customers in qualifying metallic materials for hydrogen applications, developing and optimizing metallic materials, and providing technical advice on materials, design and standards. The company also offers services in the fields of advanced analytics, innovation management and patent analysis.

More about
Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH
Green steel from Peine

Green power beams with up to 50 percent CO2 savings

Peiner Träger GmbH has been producing reliable steel girders for over 100 years – and at the start of 2023, the company is also taking a big step towards sustainability. By purchasing real green electricity, the company can offer its customers individual and sustainable solutions: The PTG green electricity girders – certified and confirmed by EPDs.

More about Peiner Träger GmbH

We stand up for green hydrogen

Not only we, but also our entire economy can become more sustainable with the help of hydrogen. That's why we are involved in various projects to build a green hydrogen economy and promote hydrogen-based technologies.

Logo HySteel

Wasserstoff Campus Salzgitter

The Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter is dedicated to the development and research of hydrogen technologies and the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier to promote the hydrogen economy and contribute to sustainable energy supply.

Logo HySteel


The members of the HySteel Expert Commission are jointly pursuing the goal of developing a forward-looking strategy for low-emission, hydrogen-based steel production in 2050 for Germany.



H2Global is a support scheme to achieve the goals adopted in the National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS) related to green hydrogen (H2) production and import.

Logo GET H2


To establish the core for a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure to make efficient implementation of the energy transition possible: That is the goal of the GET H2 initiative.

The framework conditions for our transformation

With SALCOS®, we have deliberately opted for a so-called "Carbon Direct Avoidance (CDA)" strategy, which avoids the generation of CO2. This project puts us in a pioneering position in the industry. The challenges that arise in the production of climate-neutral steel are extensive and the hurdles are primarily of an economic nature. The costs of natural gas, hydrogen and renewable energy are significantly higher than those of the coal used today, so we are reliant on an appropriate political framework in order to ensure the production of green steel and remain competitive.


In order to finance the technologies required for SALCOS® and to compensate for the higher operating costs associated with climate-neutral steel production, a suitable regulatory framework would have to be created. As an international company operating on the global market, it is not possible to pass on the increased costs to green steel as a product. However, this is not possible because the price pressure is immense. In other countries, steel is produced more cheaply, but with higher emissions and in compliance with lower standards.

Integration into
the steel mill

One of the biggest technical challenges in the production of green steel is the integration of the new systems into the existing steelworks. This project has not yet been implemented anywhere in the world. Salzgitter could therefore be the first steel company to successively incorporate a direct reduction plant into an integrated steel mill for the production of climate-neutral steel.


A number of precautions are required to obtain green steel. With the MACOR feasibility study, our team from Salzgitter Flachstahl and Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung, together with Fraunhofer Institutes, has examined whether the plans for climate-neutral steel production in our steelworks meet economic requirements as well as technical and ecological ones. The feasibility of SALCOS® depends, among other things, on how the EEG levy, for example, will develop. In addition, extensive calculations have already been carried out regarding the production of green steel.

Responsibility for
the region and employees

With SALCOS®, we made a conscious decision to design the scenario in such a way that the equipment for the production of green steel could be used in our integrated steelworks at the Salzgitter site. Relocating production to non-European countries in order to reduce the need for CO2 certificates, known as carbon leakage, contradicts our idea of regional and global responsibility.

EU emissions

Companies within the European Union must buy certificates for CO2 emissions that allow them to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. These certificates are traded in Europe. In order to reduce emissions in the future and promote climate-neutral steel, the availability of certificates is to be drastically reduced in the 4th trading period from 2021. This is intended to increase the price of certificates (European Union Allowance (EUA)). These enormous additional costs will only affect European companies, which will jeopardize or even lose their international competitiveness as a result.

Responsibility for
our environment

We understand sustainability as a concept of holistic responsibility. For the production of green steel, we have therefore opted for the so-called "Carbon Direct Avoidance (CDA)" strategy, which directly avoids the CO2 that was previously produced during the process of reducing iron oxide in the blast furnace. With SALCOS®, we have already developed a program for this project and thus paved the way for climate-neutral steel production.


Our plan to produce climate-neutral steel is technically very mature and can be implemented in the near future. The SALCOS® team and various external experts are continuing to work on optimizing the SALCOS® program. The SALCOS® implementation envisages a transformation process lasting several years. In order to ensure the production of green steel, blast furnaces and converters are to be gradually replaced by direct reduction plants and electric arc furnaces.

climate targets

The European Union plays a key role in global climate protection. In the past, it has already formulated numerous programs and regulations aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, particularly in the industrial sector. Emissions trading is an important instrument for this goal. Compared to 1990 levels, CO2 emissions in the EU are to be reduced by 55 % by 2030 in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Our SALCOS® program makes a contribution by aiming to use hydrogen to produce climate-neutral steel and significantly reduce our emissions.