SEOUL, March 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Vowing for carbon neutrality by 2050, the steel industry is scrambling to develop hydrogen reduction iron and steel production technology.
POSCO, the world’s fifth-largest steelmaker by output, recently joined hands with Hyundai Motor Group to develop steel production technology that uses hydrogen instead of coal to produce iron.
The technology uses hydrogen as a reducing agent to separate oxygen from iron ore, leaving behind water and iron.
Currently, steelmakers use carbon monoxide, gas created from burning coal, as a reducing agent to produce iron.
Putting iron ore and coal into a furnace and melting them at a temperature of more than 1,500 degrees Celsius produces carbon monoxide, which separates oxygen from the iron ore. This process, however, also emits carbon dioxide.
This is the primary reason why the steelmaking industry is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. POSCO accounts for as much as 70 percent of all carbon emissions from the South Korean steel industry.
The new hydrogen reduction technology will replace all traditional furnaces at steel plants with fluidized reduction furnaces. The reduced iron produced from these furnaces is melted down in an electric furnace to create various steel products.
This, however, requires a massive external supply of electricity.
“Renewable energy such as solar and wind power are crucial in producing green hydrogen,” POSCO said. “Countries incapable of producing green hydrogen will have no choice but to rely on foreign imports.”
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)