The production of steel will remain an energy-intensive process even in the future. voestalpine works continuously to find new solutions for decarbonizing steel production. The company is endeavoring to replace coal with alternative sources of energy through bridging technologies—particularly based on natural gas, as in its new direct reduction plant in Texas. The next step is to develop the direct reduction process using hydrogen instead of natural gas.
A hydrogen electrolyzer plant is currently being built at the company’s site in Linz in order to research the technology and its potential for steel production. The groundbreaking, so-called “SuSteel” project serves to conduct research on the direct production of steel using hydrogen plasma. A pilot plant is being built to this end at voestalpine’s site in Donawitz.
As far as the goal to lower the use of both resources and energy is concerned, digitalization contributes significantly to the continued refining and optimizing of existent production processes. Mechatronics, model-based controls, and artificial intelligence all contribute to sharp increases in process efficiency.