LIBERTY, Paul Wurth and SHS to develop hydrogen-based steel plant


France – LIBERTY Steel Group, Paul Wurth and SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar (SHS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to evaluate the development and operation of an industrial hydrogen-based steel plant in Dunkerque.

The pan-European collaboration will work together on a project to incorporate a 2 million ton Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) plant with an incorporated 1 GW hydrogen electrolysis capacity unit next to GFG’s ALVANCE Aluminium Dunkerque site.

Hydrogen and gas combination

Initially, the DRI plant would use a combination of hydrogen and natural gas as a reductive for the processing of DRI and hot-briquetted iron (HBI) before converting to 100% hydrogen until the electrolysis production unit is completed. The DRI/HBI developed will mainly be used in the LIBERTY Ascoval electric arc furnace in France, but any surplus will be used in the LIBERTY Ostrava and Galati integrated steel works as well as in the Dillinger and Saarstahl SHS-groups in Germany.

Since the beginning of last year, LIBERTY has been collaborating with Paul Wurth and SHS on the technological and economic feasibility of the project. Now that the initial feasibility work has proven successful, the partners have signed a MoU covering two phases:

Phase 1: Improve the accuracy of the economic and technological viability of the proposal, including the reduction of the gas mix, future partners (energy supply, hydrogen development and service, DRI/HBI equipment, etc.) and financing options. This process is expected to take approximately 12 weeks;

Phase 2: Provide the level of detail necessary (technically and financially) for the successful execution of the project. This phase will be determined as part of Phase 1.

Fulfill green goals

The partners are strategically focused on designing technologies that will allow the steel industry to fulfill its ambitious green goals, with LIBERTY introducing carbon neutral projects globally as part of its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. Paul Wurth is a Luxembourg-based company and a member of the SMS community with an established track record as a plant builder and service provider. Paul Wurth’s collaboration with Sunfire, a German technology provider designing high-performance electrolysers for high-efficiency hydrogen generation, aims to accelerate the development of this technology for industrial applications.