Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck visited thyssenkrupp Steel. The minister was informed about the status of the thyssenkrupp Steel decarbonization project “tkH2Steel” and confirmed his funding commitment of around two billion euros. The funding decision will be sent in the next few days. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia will contribute up to 700 million euros to the overall funding.
Decarbonization of primary steel production
After the EU Commission approved the funding of the decarbonization project “tkH2Steel” under state aid law last week, the final hurdle for the funding of the transformation project was cleared with the commitment of the German government at today’s event on the construction site of the future plant park and the starting signal was given for one of the world’s largest decarbonization projects. In particular, the innovative plant technology and the early abandonment of natural gas are being promoted. On the one hand this will save a lot of CO2 quickly, on the other “tkH2Steel” will become a driver of the European hydrogen economy and thus an anchor point for investment in the rapid development of a cross-border hydrogen infrastructure. The investment by thyssenkrupp is just under one billion euros. At the beginning of the year, after the early start of the project was granted, thyssenkrupp Steel commissioned the SMS group from Düsseldorf with the engineering, supply and construction of the plant complex.
Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck: “Today is a good day for the climate, for green industry in Germany, for the Duisburg site, for the employees. I am delighted to be able to give thyssenkrupp the firm funding commitment of around two billion euros today. With its very ambitious project, the company is showing that through the consistent use of hydrogen it is possible to decarbonize the steel sector, the biggest industrial CO2 emitter in Germany. At the same time we are signaling that the steel industry has a future in Germany and thus securing jobs in the long term. With our substantial funding thyssenkrupp can implement this lighthouse project and take a decisive step on the transformation path to green steel.”
The core of the “tkH2Steel” concept is the integration of a technologically new plant combination into Europe’s biggest iron and steel mill. The 100% hydrogen-capable direct reduction plant with two melters and a production capacity of 2.5 million metric tons of directly reduced iron per year (this will become 2.3 million metric tons of pig iron) is the first plant combination of its kind in the world in this technological concept. This will make thyssenkrupp Steel a pioneer in the decarbonization of the steel value chain in Europe and guarantee, among other things, indispensable specialty materials for the success of the energy and mobility transition. The innovative concept allows all downstream process steps to be retained from the steel mill, thus ensuring consistently high product quality even for CO2-reduced steel. Customers will continue to receive the complete, high-quality product portfolio in the accustomed premium quality.
Deputy NRW Minister President and NRW Economics Minister Mona Neubaur: “North Rhine-Westphalia is the number one steel location in Germany. And the heart of the North Rhine-Westphalian steel industry beats in Duisburg. Every day, more than 45,000 people in North Rhine-Westphalia work with their hands to produce the indispensable material steel in such a way that it meets the highest quality requirements. In doing so, they create the basis for sustainable innovations in many industrial sectors. It must therefore be in the interests of all of us to keep this heart of steel beating. However, it will only beat reliably in the long term if this heart has a green future. With the EU Commission’s approval under state aid law for joint funding of the tkH2Steel project by the federal and state governments, steel production here at the Duisburg site will soon become much more climate-friendly. This is a milestone for North Rhine-Westphalia on the way to becoming Europe’s first climate-neutral industrial region.”
Ambitious hydrogen ramp-up
With annual savings of up to 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 – that’s already just under five percent of the Ruhr region’s emissions – the direct reduction plant is indispensable for achieving climate targets and at the same time ensuring the economic resilience of Germany as an industrial location. This is because the key to the transformation project is the extremely ambitious ramp-up of hydrogen use, which will quickly save large quantities of CO2. The plant is already scheduled to operate in 2029 with around 143,000 metric tons of hydrogen per year – the electricity required to produce this amount of hydrogen is equivalent to the generation of around 500 wind turbines or 60 percent of the electricity required by the city of Hamburg. Commissioning is scheduled from the end of 2026.
Miguel Ángel López Borrego, Executive Board Chairman of thyssenkrupp AG: “We thank the federal and state governments for their resolute support for the green transformation of our steel production. thyssenkrupp, North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany will thus become pioneers in climate-neutral steel production. This is a good day for climate protection and an important milestone for the establishment of a sustainable hydrogen economy in Germany. thyssenkrupp can contribute a great deal to the success of this transformation. For example, in addition to steel we have technologies for the expansion of renewable energies as well as for the production and transport of hydrogen. This will allow us to serve key stages of future green value chains. We will make consistent use of these opportunities.”