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Targeting a future without CO2

Our climate strategy for sustainable steel production

The goal is clear: Steelmaking at thyssenkrupp is to be climate-neutral by 2050. With its climate strategy the company is stepping up its current activities to reduce emissions, accepting its social responsibility and showing its commitment to the 2015 Paris climate agreement. As an initial target thyssenkrupp is aiming to reduce emissions from its own production and processes and from the purchase of energy by 30 percent versus the base year 2018 by 2030.

Climate strategy thyssenkrupp Steel

The future is climate-neutral

Transformation of steel production

Transformation of steel production

thyssenkrupp Steel has steadily and significantly reduced emissions in steel production in recent years, bringing processes close to their theoretical optimum. This means that fundamental technological changes will be necessary to achieve climate-neutral steel production. thyssenkrupp Steel is pursuing an open approach and focusing on two parallel, equally important routes: the avoidance of CO2 through the use of hydrogen (“Carbon Direct Avoidance”, CDA) and the use of CO2 produced in steelmaking (“Carbon Capture and Usage”, CCU). thyssenkrupp is taking a step-by-step approach.

Two technological paths, one goal

thyssenkrupp is embarking on two parallel and equally important technological paths in order to produce climate neutral steel by 2050: avoiding of CO2 through the use of hydrogen and utilizing CO2 through Carbon2Chem® technology.

Zwei Technologiepfade - ein Ziel
The test
Starting in 2019

thyssenkrupp will gradually replace pulverized coal in one blast furnace (BF) with hydrogen (H2).

The introductory phase
Starting in 2022

Step by step, all three blast furnaces (BF) will be transitioned to H2 injection.

The milestone
Starting in 2024

Using large-scale direct reduction plants (DR) which will be operated using green H2, thyssenkrupp will produce sponge iron which will then proceed to the blast furnaces (BF) for processing, allowing a further reduction in emissions.

The transformation to climate neutral steel production
2025 to 2050

Using electric arc furnaces (EAF), thyssenkrupp will process sponge iron into climate neutral crude steel using electricity from renewable energy sources.

The world first

The concept: CO2 becomes raw materials. In September 2018, thyssenkrupp produced ammonia from steel mill gases for the first time at its Carbon2Chem® technical center in Duisburg.

The industrialization
Starting in 2020

The pilot system at the Duisburg steel plant will use steel mill gases to produce base chemicals.

The breakthrough
Starting in 2025

CO2 will be used as a raw material in an industrial-scale plant. The Carbon2Chem® technology is also useful in other industries, for example the cement industry.

Avoiding emissions: The hydrogen route

Avoiding emissions: The hydrogen path

The test – hydrogen in the blast furnace

The test – hydrogen in the blast furnace

“Soon we’ll be using hydrogen as a reducing agent in the blast furnace instead of carbon,” says Dr. Arnd Köfler, Chief Technology Officer at thyssenkrupp Steel, explaining the first step toward avoiding CO2 emissions. The hydrogen replaces coal: Where CO2 is released when using coal, hydrogen simply produces steam. As the worldwide first of several tests, hydrogen has been injected into one of the 28 tuyeres on blast furnace 9 at the Duisburg-Hamborn site on November 11th, 2019. The hydrogen will be delivered by Air Liquide by road tanker. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding this project under its IN4climate initiative.

“In order to achieve ambitious climate protection with a globally competitive industry in the future, there must be innovations in industrial and energy-intensive processes such as steel production. Land North Rhine-Westphalia would like to go along this transformation path together with industry and science. The pilot project shows that our IN4climate.NRW initiative is already bearing fruit. I am glad that we have thyssenkrupp Steel, Air Liquide Deutschland GmbH and BFI here as an innovative partner by our side.”

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Link to press release project phase 1

Step-by-step conversion of all blast furnaces from coal to hydrogen

If the tests on one tuyere are successful, the next step will be to expand the process to all 28 tuyeres of the blast furnace by the end of 2021. The hydrogen will then be supplied from a nearby Air Liquide grid, from which a roughly 6.5 kilometer pipeline will be laid to the blast furnace. From 2022 thyssenkrupp Steel will gradually convert all four blast furnaces in Duisburg to hydrogen injection. “Theoretically, replacing pulverized coal with hydrogen at this stage of the production process has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 20 percent,” says Dr. Arnd Köfler.

The next key step: Direct reduction

Even though converting the blast furnaces to hydrogen is an important first step, a fundamental transformation of steel production is required. The development of direct reduction plants (DR plants) represents a key change in steel production. thyssenkrupp Steel is planning to build the first commercial-scale DR plants from the mid-2020s. The DR plants will operate on the basis of hydrogenous gases and produce solid sponge iron (direct reduced iron, DRI) rather than molten pig iron. The sponge iron will initially be melted in the existing blast furnaces. The blast furnace will however act only as a melting unit which will use less energy and help lower CO2 emissions.

Starting in the 2030s, the sponge iron from the DR plants will undergo processing into crude steel in modern electric arc furnaces (EAF) powered by renewable energies as far as possible.

By 2050, thyssenkrupp Steel will gradually transition all of its facilities to the new climate-neutral steel production process.

Using emissions: Carbon2Chem®

Steel mill gases as a raw material

The second method thyssenkrupp is pursuing in its goal to become climate-neutral by 2050 is the Carbon2Chem® project in which the company processes gases produced during steel production for later use. The German federal government is funding the project with a grant of over €60 million. “Steel production generates steel mill gases with components that contain carbon. With Carbon2Chem®, we are able to convert these gases into base chemicals for use in the chemical industry, which would otherwise require synthetic gas from imported fossil resources such as oil or natural gas,” says Dr. Markus Oles, head of Carbon2Chem®, describing the project’s central aim. “These base chemicals can then be used to make fertilizers, plastics, or fuels, for example.”

Since September 2018 thyssenkrupp has been working on this technology at the Carbon2Chem® technology center in Duisburg and has – for the first time anywhere in the world – produced ammonia and methanol from steel mill gases. The industrial pilot phase, which will produce methanol from steel mill gases, kicks off in 2020. The company plans to establish an industrial-scale plant by 2025. Using both of these methods – Carbon2Chem® and the use of hydrogen as a reducing agent – in parallel will allow thyssenkrupp to considerably reduce the emissions of its existing blast furnaces. Carbon2Chem® technology can also be employed in other industries.

To the Carbon2Chem® site

The responsibility of the steel industry

Mission: Climate neutrality

Mission: Climate neutrality

It has been four years since 195 countries agreed to work together to slow global warming. The binding international accord passed at the Paris Climate Convention in December 2015 was celebrated around the world as a historic milestone. The long-term target of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels is a task for the entire international community and can only be achieved through carefully coordinated measures. The European steel industry is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making its contribution to meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Recycling old steel into new

Steel is a symbol of the circular economy

Steel has established itself as an eco-friendly material. Large quantities of the durable material have already been in circulation for decades and are 100% recyclable. Around 500 million tons of steel are recycled every year worldwide, saving one billion tons of raw materials. This makes steel a key factor in the transition to the circular economy. The circular economy also focuses on further optimizing carbon-based metallurgy and recycling carbon in synergy with other industry sectors.

Recycling also plays an important role in life cycle assessments – LCAs for short – for example in the automotive industry. They consider all ecological and economic aspects from production to use to recycling. Steel already scores higher than other materials in many LCA comparisons. The more CO2 that can be saved during steel production in the future, the greater these advantages will become as the production processes for alternative materials have a significantly bigger carbon footprint.

New energy through steel

No energy transition without steel


A climate-neutral society is unimaginable without steel. Many products and industries are reliant on steel to achieve technical progress and reduce their carbon footprint. “No energy transition without steel” is the motto: Wind turbines, for example, are up to 80 percent steel, while electrical steel serves as a basic component in efficient electric motors, generators, and smart power grids.

To look at it another way: No climate-neut¬ral steelmaking without clean energy. This shows how important it is to take a holistic approach to the issue of climate protection and how closely industry and the energy transition are interlinked.

We need steel to achieve the ambitious climate targets. To secure its future in a climate-neutral society, the way it is produced will be revolutionized over the next three decades. thyssenkrupp has already made a start on this.

“Even though steel production is an energy-intensive process, trying to do without steel altogether is like trying to stop the clock to save time.”

Dr. Arnd Köfler, Member of the Executive Board of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG


  • Green hydrogen for steel production: RWE and thyssenkrupp plan partnership

  • World first in Duisburg as NRW economics minister Pinkwart launches tests at thyssenkrupp into blast furnace use of hydrogen

  • Graphic: Hydrogen for the blast furnace

  • Hydrogen instead of coal. thyssenkrupp Steel launches pioneering project for climatefriendly steel production at its Duisburg site

  • Infographics: Two technological paths, one goal


ThyssenKrupp Contact

Business Area Steel Europe

Mark Stagge

Head of External Communications

Telephone: +49 (0)203 52-25159

Fax: +49 (0)203 52-25707

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