The world’s first test of a 30% natural gas/hydrogen blend in the forging processes used in industrial steelmaking involved using the mixture to heat the furnaces of steelmaker Giva Group's Forgiatura A Vienna plant, in Milan, Italy.
The test was successfully carried out on site after a series of studies and laboratory tests lasting about a year, energy infrastructure company and project developer Snam says.
The use of the hydrogen and natural gas blend did not require any plant modifications and had no impact on the equipment used, including industrial burners, or on the characteristics of the final heat-treated product.
“In the medium- to long-term, hydrogen is in a position to become the solution for decarbonising steelmaking, as well as all hard-to-abate industrial sectors that have a fundamental role in our economy.
"This trial is a preparatory step to the gradual introduction of zero-emission hydrogen, initially blended with natural gas and then in pure form, in certain steelmaking production processes,” notes Snam CEO Marco Alverà.
Snam intends to make its infrastructure, research and expertise available to contribute to the creation of a national hydrogen supply chain and to the achievement of domestic and European climate targets, he adds.
It is estimated that the permanent use of a 30% green hydrogen blend, fuelled by renewables, on the total gas consumed by the three Giva Group steel forging plants for its industrial processes would lead to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the order of 15 000 t/y, Snam says.
It would consequently result in CO2 emissions savings amounting to about €800 000 a year, calculated on the current purchase of certificates, while ensuring the value and integrity of the steel-forging manufacturing process and its long-term environmental sustainability.
“The use of hydrogen in hard-to-abate industrial applications, such as steelmaking, will play a key role in achieving domestic and European Union climate neutrality targets by 2050. Looking ahead, green hydrogen is the ideal solution for CO2-free steel-making and processing,” the company states.