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tkH2Steel®: With hydrogen to carbon-neutral steel production


Paving the way to a carbon-neutral Europe

The lights are set to green for the future of steel in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and Europe: thanks to funding from the federal and state governments for thyssenkrupp Steel's tkH2Steel® project at the Duisburg site, a pioneering transformation is becoming reality: the production of premium steel with green electricity and hydrogen in the direct reduction plant – and no longer in the coal-fired blast furnace. This is a major breakthrough for climate change mitigation, for our company and the workforce, as well as for the entire region and the supporters of the project in federal and state politics.

Logos BMWK und NRW

Sustainable steel – leading the way for customers and the climate

One of the largest CO2 emitters, which still accounts for 2.5 percent of emissions in Germany, is becoming a pioneer of sustainable value creation in Europe. Electric mobility, the energy turnaround, the mobility revolution, the packaging industry and many other sectors – they all need steel as a basic material not only in the highest quality, but also with the smallest possible carbon footprint.

This is exactly what thyssenkrupp Steel will be supplying within just a few years, with a technologically unique plant configuration: tkH2Steel®. Each ton of green hydrogen will then save 28 tons of CO2. However, we do not skimp on quality: thyssenkrupp Steel will continue to be able to offer all proven grades without restrictions, for example our electrical steel for the energy and mobility revolution.

Sustainable steel – for Germany's independence and economic might

The innovative heart of the turnaround in steelmaking is the combination of a hydrogen-powered direct reduction plant with two electric melters. The next generation of steel will become a reality with the commissioning of the direct reduction plant from 2027 onward, followed by the next steps towards climate neutrality by 2045 at the latest. The generation change will be carried out by thyssenkrupp Steel during ongoing steelmaking operations and at the existing Duisburg site.

In this way, we are strengthening Germany as an industrial location and securing attractive jobs in the region – 26,000 directly in the company and 150,000 in downstream industries in North Rhine-Westphalia. Nationwide, as many as four million jobs need to be preserved in steel-intensive industries. Decarbonized steel is the foundation of industrial value creation that secures growth and jobs. In this way, CO2-reduced steel reconciles climate change mitigation, prosperity and economic resilience.

Sustainable steel – driving the hydrogen economy

As a major consumer of green electricity and hydrogen, thyssenkrupp Steel is also a pioneer of the green energy infrastructure of the future. Alone the first direct reduction plant, with its capacity of 2.5 million metric tons of direct reduced iron (DRI), will need almost 400 metric tons of hydrogen every day – equivalent to filling the gasometer in Oberhausen full to the brim twelve times over.

The hydrogen and green electricity ramp-up is linked to the expectation of further industrial jobs beyond steel with a secure future. A perspective that underlines the importance of the project and for which thyssenkrupp Steel accepts responsibility. The #nextgenerationsteel has its home on the Rhine and Ruhr rivers, but it thinks and acts as part of Europe.

Clear roadmap to green premium steel

Our claim is clear. Our transformation to carbon-neutral steel production should be completed by 2045 at the latest. The path to net zero greenhouse gas CO2 leads through one of the largest investment projects in industrial history. The four blast furnaces which have shaped the Duisburg cityscape for decades are going to be replaced: with the construction of the first direct reduction plant, we are launching one of the biggest industrial decarbonization projects worldwide.
By 2045 at the latest we aim to make our entire steel production carbon-neutral. By 2045 at the latest we aim to make our entire steel production carbon-neutral.

tkH2Steel®: an innovative concept with many advantages

The direct reduction plant is a shaft furnace that operates on natural gas or hydrogen, and therefore does not require coal. At about 1,000 degrees Celsius, oxygen is removed from the iron ore, and direct reduced sponge iron (DRI) is produced. While still hot, the DRI is further processed into liquid hot metal in electrical power-operated melters. Positioning the two melters immediately adjacent to the direct reduction plant allows the solid input stock produced there to be converted into molten hot metal immediately; this makes the entire process particularly efficient. The plant with the two melters will be optimally integrated into the surrounding steelworks infrastructure.

Each year, the first plant will be able to supply 2.3 million metric tons of liquid hot metal (produced from 2.5 million metric tons of DRI) to the integrated BOF meltshops at the site, which will then process it into the proven steel grades. thyssenkrupp will offer the full range of premium steel grades in decarbonized form in the long term; this will be a key factor in industrial value creation and thus a driver of the energy and mobility revolution, for example.

The plant combination also has other clear advantages:

Hot link

Due to the "hot link" of the integrated plant, i.e. for the immediate melting of the still hot sponge iron, significantly less energy is required.

Zero-waste approach

The slag from the melters is not a waste product, but can be processed into granulated blast furnace sand and used as a CO2-saving clinker substitute, especially in the cement industry.

With the first direct reduction plant alone, we can save up to 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 in pure hydrogen operation. This corresponds to just under 5% of emissions in the Ruhr region, or around 2% of emissions in North Rhine-Westphalia. When the plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2027, green hydrogen will not yet be available in sufficient quantities. It is therefore all the more important that the direct reduction plant can also be commissioned with natural gas, enabling the use of blue hydrogen as a bridging technology. At the same time, thyssenkrupp Steel is also investing in the decarbonization of further production stages, i.e. in the decarbonizing of the steel mills and downstream operations. In other words: the bridge to a carbon-neutral future is in place.

A new landmark for the green powerhouse of Europe

The new direct reduction plant is an outstanding investment in two senses: as a milestone for the decarbonization of steel which, when it is completed will represent a landmark and an emblem for the decarbonization of the industrial center of Europe, as well as for the future of the Rhine-Ruhr region which should serve as a model for the hydrogen economy.

In spring 2023, thyssenkrupp Steel had already awarded the engineering, supply and construction contracts to the plant builder SMS group from North Rhine-Westphalia. The construction of the plants and equipment alone will create more than 400 new jobs. We report on the progress of construction work on an ongoing basis, and seek active dialog with local residents.

Catalyst of a hydrogen ecosystem

tkH2Steel®: the heart of steel is turning green. Green electricity and green hydrogen will be the indispensable energy carriers and thus the lifeblood of a decarbonized industry. The demand from the steel industry is so high that the installed capacity of wind power, solar energy and electrolysis seems modest in comparison. Just to operate thyssenkrupp Steel's first direct reduction plant exclusively with green hydrogen would require green electricity from 800 wind turbines. Added to this comes the power requirement of the two melters. The only way to achieve completely carbon-neutral steel production is therefore to ensure a comprehensive supply of green electricity and green hydrogen.

thyssenkrupp Steel is playing a key role in the Europe-wide hydrogen supply. As the engine of the hydrogen economy, Europe's largest integrated iron and steel plant will help drive the rapid and ambitious hydrogen ramp-up in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and in neighboring European countries as well.

As Germany's largest consumer of hydrogen in this decade, we are a key driver for the development of the corresponding hydrogen infrastructure. The hydrogen value chain is expected to create a six-figure number of additional jobs in the future.

From near and far: roadmap for hydrogen supply

thyssenkrupp Steel is in contact with potential project partners to secure the future local and long-distance supply of green hydrogen and electricity. According to current plans, Duisburg will already be connected to the national hydrogen network at an early stage. The planned hydrogen pipeline between Dorsten and the Duisburg district of Hamborn (DoHa project) will provide a secure connection to a supraregional hydrogen network. Further connections to currently planned major power projects, e.g. with links to Rotterdam, are also planned by 2030.

Tender for Hydrogen supply

thyssenkrupp Steel Europe will conduct a public tender for the procurement of hydrogen. Please refer to our official pre-announcement on the platforms DTVP (Deutsches Vergabe Portal), Service Online and TED (tenders electronic daily). There you will find information about the tender and the procedure.

If you have any questions, please contact us by e-mail: [email protected].

bluemint® Steel – a brand for CO2-reduced and climate-friendlier steel

bluemint® Steel Coils

As early as 2021, thyssenkrupp Steel launched bluemint® Steel, a brand for CO2-reduced steel which has met with strong customer demand. In household appliances and bathroom fittings, cans and jam jar lids of renowned brand-name manufacturers, as well as in transformers for substations, packaging steel for chemicals, truck wheels and vehicle components, bluemint® Steel is either already in place today, or delivery at a later date has been agreed.

bluemint® Steel is thyssenkrupp's brand for CO2-reduced steel that in the long term will be produced from the hydrogen-powered direct reduction plant. Customers can already significantly reduce their carbon footprint with the bluemint® pure and bluemint® recycled brands. The CO2 savings here are achieved by using alternative charge materials in the blast furnace.

Binding and verifiable: global standards for tkH2Steel®

With our climate strategy, we are committed to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 and assume social responsibility. By 2045 at the latest, our steel production should be completely carbon-neutral. As an initial target for 2030, we are aiming to reduce our emissions from the production and processes in our own company (Scope 1), and emissions from the purchase of energy (Scope 2), by more than 30 percent versus the baseline of 2018.

ResponsibleSteel® – working together for social and environmental compatibility in steel


Since February 2022, thyssenkrupp Steel has been a member of the ResponsibleSteel® initiative and is thus committed to the global standards and the independent certification program of the non-profit organization. This also provides an independent check on whether our transformation to carbon-neutral steel production takes account of social and ecological aspects along the entire value chain.

The twelve principles of ResponsibleSteel® extend firstly to the responsible and sustainable management of the supply chain – from procurement to the use and recycling of steel. Secondly, the standards cover topics such as health and safety, water management and biodiversity, human rights and workers' rights, and relations with the local communities.

#nextgenerationsteel: Fit for the green future


#nextgenerationsteel stands for the steel of the future – but just as much for sustainable steel production that secures prosperity, employment and a world worth living in for future generations. The new chapter in our company's history has opened following the funding commitment for the first direct reduction plant – and now it's time to write this story together.

Our employees are aware of the critical role our transformation plays in climate change mitigation. New job profiles are being created here, employees are being retrained in the operation of new plants and thus geared up for the future of steel production. A qualification and training initiative is therefore an essential part of thyssenkrupp Steel's transformation journey.

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Mark Stagge

Head of Public & Media Relations, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG

Telephone: +49 203 52-25159

Fax: +49 203 52-25707

Send email
ThyssenKrupp Contact

thyssenkrupp Steel Europe

Roswitha Becker

Press spokesperson

Telephone: +49 (0) 203 52-44916

Fax: +49 (0)203 52-25707

Send email
ThyssenKrupp Contact
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