User Kaldewei: CO2-reduced flat steel for premium baths
Kaldewei sees the greatest lever on the path to climate neutrality in the conversion of the primary material to green steel. ”Steel is the op-timum material for us because of its robustness, its good formability and, not least, its recycla-bility. However, its coal-based production is re-fl ected in the CO2 balance of our own products,“ observes Christian Graap. This is changing with bluemint® Steel, the first steel product from thyssenkrupp Steel with reduced CO2 intensity. “The use of bluemint® Steel is an important step toward achieving our own climate goals.”
You ask, we deliver: In October 2021, CEO Franz Kaldewei personally ordered the first delivery of bluemint® Steel. “With the certified product, all direct emissions are neutralized through CO2 savings in the production process,” explains Jörg Paff rath, Head of Industrial Sales at thyssenkrupp Steel: “This means we can already off er our customers a high-quality CO2-reduced steel product.” In specifics terms, the CO2 intensity per tonne of steel is reduced by a good 70 percent. Among other things, Kaldewei uses the material in the limited “Kaldewei nature protect” product series, which, in addition to attractive bathtubs, shower trays and washbasin bowls, also provides customers with a certifi cate showing the CO2 savings compared to standard products.
Kaldewei marketing manager Yvonne Piu is pleased with the response to the new line: “Particularly in the upper price segment, we are seeing a growing willingness among our customers to include sustainability aspects in their purchasing decisions. We are using this willingness to promote sustainable materials more strongly in the future. Clear labeling at the point of sale and comprehensible information on our sustainability measures are important, and we communicate this primarily through our public relations work.”
bluemint® Steel: On the way to climate neutrality
Change of perspective: In Duisburg, Dr. Marie Jaroni, Head of Decarbonization & Sustainability, looks from the meeting room to the ten square kilometer site, which over the next 20 years is to become a laboratory and pacemaker for the transformation to climate-neutral steel production. The decisive technological step here will be the replacement of the coal-based blast furnaces with direct reduction plants powered by green hydrogen in the future. The first plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2025.
To prepare for this decisive milestone, a direct reduction test facility is being installed among other things as part of the H2Stahl joint project funded by the German government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Key process parameters are to be investigated there to en-sure a smooth transition to the later large-scale plant. The transformation of thyssenkrupp Steel is thus taking the next stage.
The transformation of thyssenkrupp bluemint® Steel, the company’s customers are already being given the opportunity to benefit directly from this.
“We are getting very good feedback on our CO2-reduced steels,” says Marie Jaroni. “And the logic behind the product is also well understood.” For example, the balance sheet approach, which allows the real CO2 savings in the blast furnace process to be allocated to a clearly defined part of the steel produced, pays off. “This means that we can already offer all desired grades in proven quality with a reduced carbon footprint and also guarantee that there will be no need for any change in existing manufacturing processes on the customer side.”
User SGB-Smit: CO2-reduced electrical steel for the energy industry
The Regensburg-based company SGB-Smit also intends to switch as quickly as possible to high-performance steels that also reduce CO2 emissions. The manufacturer of transformers is supporting the energy supplier E.ON in setting up a decentralized supply network in which the share of wind power, photovoltaic and biogas plants is steadily increasing. Transformers play a central role in the energy transition, as they ensure the conversion and transmission of green electricity. To ensure that this happens with as little loss as possible, high-tech steels are used in the transformers: Highly efficient grain-ori-ented electric strip of the powercore® brand from thyssenkrupp Steel.
“We are one of the few suppliers on the market whose products meet the strict requirements of the new EU Ecodesign directive on energy efficiency,” says Georgios Giovanakis, Managing Director thyssenkrupp Electrical Steel. The business area has now further extended this competitive advantage: Only thyssenkrupp Steel currently offers grain-oriented electrical steel with a 50% reduced carbon footprint compared to the standard version. For this purpose, an already pre-reduced iron – referred to as Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) – is used in the blast furnace, which reduces the use of coal.
The first 50 tonnes of bluemint® powercore® were secured by transformer specialist SGB-Smit. “For us, it represents a great added value that the top grades of thyssenkrupp Steel are now also CO2-reduced. This is an important step towards further decarbonization of the energy process chain,” says Managing Director Holger Ketterer. In order to effectively reduce CO2, the SME company has set itself two goals: to con-tinuously reduce energy losses in the utilization phase of the transformers and to cut the carbon footprint of the transformers themselves. Holger Ketterer: “With the first goal, the energy transition is dealing us a good hand. The more renewable energies are used, the lower the CO2 emissions from energy losses. That’s why our focus is already clearly on the climate impact of the materials we use.” SGB-Smit is therefore fol-lowing the first hydrogen injection trials in the blast furnace with great interest, and the switch to direct reduction announced by thyssenkrupp Steel.
Hydrogen: Driver of the transformation
“Hydrogen will be of central importance for steel production in Duisburg,” says Dr. Frank Ahrenhold, head of sustainable steelmaking at thyssenkrupp Steel. “The gas is technologically the only way to replace coal as a reducing agent in pig iron production. And with the huge ad-vantage that water vapor and no CO2 is then produced in the process. The leverage for climate protection is thus unique across industries: With one tonne of hydrogen, we save 26 tonnes of CO2.” To meet the sharp rise in hydrogen demand in the long term, thyssenkrupp Steel is already cooperating with partners to secure national and international supply sources.
A test series is running at the same time, its results are eagerly awaited far beyond the borders of Duisburg: the use of hydrogen in the direct reduction process. This is because up to now, the DR plants already used in steel production have been operated with natural gas. “A key question in both experimental setups is how we need to inject the hydrogen so that it reacts eff ectively with the oxygen in the iron ore,” explains the metallurgist. Measurement technology will, in particular, monitor every single substance stream and every iron ore grade used in the planned 20-meter tall DR test plant. “We’re doing basic research here that will contribute signifi cantly to the transformation of the global steel industry toward climate neutrality.”
User Hoffmann Neopac: Climate-friendly tinplate for Ricola herbal sugar
Sustainable and environmentally friendly materials are in high demand in the packaging industry too. With its recyclable cans and tubes, the Swiss company Hoff mann Neopac is one of the industry’s multiple award-winning pioneers.
With bluemint® Steel, Hoffmann Neopac is once again relying on a product innovation made of steel from thyssenkrupp. “We are delighted that our CO2-reduced tinplate will package and thus eff ectively protect one of Switzerland’s best-known export products from light and moisture – Ricola Swiss herbal sugar,” reveals Dr. Peter Biele, Managing Director thyssenkrupp Rasselstein. A liaison that, according to Martin Messerli, Chief Operating O ffi cer of Ricola, is a good match: “The herbs for our candy specialties are grown in the Swiss mountains and processed in a natural way. This close-to-nature production is one of our brand promises. For us, it is logical in terms of preserving natural habitats that our packaging also becomes increasingly sustainable. bluemint® Steel is another step in this direction.”
Marie Jaroni: Green steel definition required
In Duisburg, Marie Jaroni is mainly busy planning the next steps on the road to climate neutrality. “What we need now, and quickly, is an industry-wide definition of green steel,” says the strategist. “It will help us differentiate our certified products from alternatives on the market.” Meanwhile, the task is to press ahead with the rebuild of Europe’s largest steel mill. Marie Jaroni’s schedule is full: Approval procedures and investment commitments are being finalized, talks are being held with hydrogen suppliers, and procedural challenges are being solved. The path to a climate-neutral steel mill is a mammoth project that requires a great deal of commitment, coordination and willingness to change from everyone involved. But also one that is worth the effort. “It’s incredible what impact we can have with our work,” says Marie Jaroni. “At thyssenkrupp Steel alone we will save 2.5 percent of Germany’s CO2 emissions in the future.” And what’s more: Every tonne of bluemint® Steel helps reduce emissions in other industries. Mission Transition – in full swing!