Press Release

Cooperation Partners Salzgitter Flachstahl, Avacon and Linde Sign Agreement for Ground Breaking € 50

Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, Linde AG and Avacon Natur GmbH signed a cooperation agreement today on the joint “Salzgitter Clean Hydrogen” innovation project, which signifies a big step toward a hydrogen-based industry.

The aim of the project is to generate hydrogen in Salzgitter through electrolysis and electricity from wind power. These activities are to lay the foundation for the future deployment of larger hydrogen volumes to reduce direct CO2 emissions in the production of steel.

Salzgitter Flachstahl is to plan the construction and operation of PEM electrolysis plant (PEM = Proton-Exchange Membrane) with a capacity of around 400 N.m³/h. Avacon intends to build and operate seven wind turbines on the premises of the Salzgitter Group, three of which on the grounds of the steel mill. Industrial gas supplier Linde will ensure the steady supply of hydrogen. The cost of the entire project (installation of the wind turbines and the hydrogen plant, including linking them up to the existing distribution networks) amount to around € 50 million. The financing of this forward-looking industrial climate protection project also necessitates the acquisition of governmental funding. Assuming the project runs smoothly, the production of hydrogen on the plant premises could commence in 2020.

In the context of this project, the partners are aiming to build up know-how for the environmentally compatible production of hydrogen, as well as gaining experience with the on-site production of hydrogen and its incorporation into an integrated steel mill with its complex production processes.

Hydrogen delivered by Linde is already used today in the annealing processes that are part of producing steel. In addition, the use of hydrogen in mills opens up the potential of significantly reducing CO2 emissions generated from steel production processes in the future. With a view to achieving this goal, Salzgitter AG conceived the SALCOS (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) project that maps a realistic path toward the gradual reduction of CO2 and, in the long term, steel production that is virtually free of CO2. As part of this project, hydrogen generated from renewable energies is to replace the carbon so far required for the smelting of iron ore.

Salzgitter Flachstahl intends to gain operational experience through this project in the area so important for SALCOS of generating “hydrogen from renewable energies”. This experience could later be used for implementation on an industrial scale. Although the framework conditions prevailing today do not permit the commercial operation of a direct combination of wind energy generation and electrolysis operations without government funding, the three partners are determined to take this technology that is so significant for the future and for climate protection further.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Salzgitter AG said, : “In the future, hydrogen will play a key role in mobility, the production and storage of energy, as well as in many other industrial processes. As we have shown with our SALCOS project, we possess the technological abilities to achieve significant reductions in CO2 using hydrogen. We view the “Salzgitter Clean Hydrogen” project as a significant building block that will promote more environmentally compatible steel production.”

Dr. Stephan Tenge, Chief Technology Officer of Avacon AG said, : “If we want to secure a high proportion of green gas going forward, particularly in the heat sector, we need a strong expansion of power-to-gas plants producing CO2-neutral hydrogen through electrolysis from renewable resources. Against the backdrop of our large gas network infrastructure, Avacon considers it strategically important to gain the necessary expertise for interconnection across sectors.”

Jens Waldeck, Head of the Central Europe Region, Linde AG said, : “We are greatly looking forward to our groundbreaking cooperation based on our long-standing and successful partnership. For more than a century, we have pioneered the use of hydrogen as an industrial gas in a wide range of applications. We have already gained positive experience in the future-oriented technology from the Mainz Energy Park. We will now be contributing this experience to the project in Salzgitter, which, together with our customers, will enable us to take another important step in the direction of an environmentally sound supply.”

Salzgitter AG

Salzgitter AG ranks as one of Europe’s leading steel and technology groups, with external sales of around € 9 billion, more than 25,000 employees and just under 160 domestic and international subsidiaries and associates. The company is divided up into the business units of Strip Steel, Plate/Section Steel, Mannesmann, Trading and Technology. Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH is its largest subsidiary, producing a wide range of high grade special and branded steels for sophisticated customer sectors such as the automotive industry.

More Information: www.salzgitter-ag.com and https://salcos.salzgitter-ag.com.

Avacon

Avacon AG Avacon AG is Germany’s largest distribution grid operator. The company reliably operates electricity and gas networks in the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. Avacon future proofs the networks and the tasks of tomorrow. More than € 160 million a year are earmarked for expanding the network and for the integration of renewable energies. As a large scale regional supplier, Avacon plays an active part in implementing Germany’s renewable energy policy, with strong and innovative networks.

Avacon Natur GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avacon AG. The company develops energy supply solutions based on renewable energies as well as innovative and efficient technologies for industrial enterprises, commercial and domestic customers. Avacon Natur GmbH is the company of Avacon AG entrusted with executing operations under this project.

Linde AG

In the 2017 financial year, The Linde Group generated revenue of EUR 17.113 bn, making it one of the leading gases and engineering companies in the world, with approximately 58,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business, with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. www.linde.com