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British Steel gets funding for hydrogen fuel study

Switching to hydrogen fuel could drastically reduce the carbon intensity of steel production

British Steel is now running a six-month study based on operations at its Teesside Beam Mill thanks to funding from the UK government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).

The steelmaker, which is collaborating with EDF UK, University College London (UCL) and the Materials Processing Institute, hopes to make net zero steel by 2050.

If the Teesside study is successful, British Steel will undertake an industrial-scale demonstration which could see the technology developed and rolled out across all its operations including its main manufacturing base in Scunthorpe. It could also be adopted by other UK steelmakers, it says.

The study links into the Tees Green Hydrogen project, which will use electricity from the nearby Teesside offshore wind farm along with a new solar farm that EDF Renewables UK plans to build near Redcar to power its hydrogen electrolyser.

British Steel’s environment and sustainability director, Lee Adcock, said: “As an energy intensive industry with hard to abate emissions, the steel industry offers the potential for large CO2 emission savings through fuel switching from natural gas to hydrogen. This study is, therefore, a vital and hugely exciting step on our journey to developing the technology needed to transform the way we, and other steel manufacturers, operate.”

British Steel’s head of R&D, Gari Harris, said: “As part of the feasibility study, EDF UK R&D will carry out a technoeconomic assessment of the methodology and practicality of delivery of green hydrogen for fuel switching into the steel manufacturing process, and British Steel will assess the technical implications of the fuel switch on both product and process.

“Together the partners will carry out an assessment of the economic viability and environmental impact of  switching from natural gas to hydrogen in defined aspects of steel manufacturing. The Materials Processing Institute and UCL will also play a role in aiding in the assessment of the product and process viability for British Steel.”

Yukun Hu, associate professor of infrastructure systems at UCL, said: “If the project is successful, the net-zero emission solution for steel heating proposed in this project will bring a major development to the steel industry and directly contribute to the UK’s target of carbon neutral iron and steelmaking.”

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