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Voestalpine Unveils World's First 'Green' Wire Rod at Donawitz Site
Voestalpine Unveils World's First 'Green' Wire Rod at Donawitz Site

Voestalpine Unveils World's First 'Green' Wire Rod at Donawitz Site

  • 12-Apr-2024 12:12 PM
  • Journalist: Rene Swann

Voestalpine has reached a historic achievement by manufacturing the world's inaugural high-quality "green" wire rod using hydrogen-reduced pure iron and scrap at its Donawitz facility. The hydrogen-reduced pure iron was generated in the Hyfor pilot plant, while the pivotal melting process occurred at the Group's unique Technikum Metallurgie research facility—a compact but comprehensive steel plant. The resulting CO2-reduced steel underwent further processing in the wire rod mill to yield roller-bearing steel renowned for its exceptional hardness and wear resistance. Developing high-quality steel grades with reduced CO2 emissions presents a significant technological hurdle in the shift towards green steel production.

Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO of voestalpine AG, remarked, "Our journey towards green steel production has seen promising beginnings, with swift progress in constructing two arc furnaces fueled by green electricity in Linz and Donawitz. Concurrently, we are actively exploring innovative technologies in collaboration with industry and scientific partners. The inaugural melting of hydrogen-reduced pure iron, followed by its transformation into high-quality wire rod, marks a historic milestone for us."

Hyfor, a collaborative research initiative involving Primetals Technologies, voestalpine, Montanuniversität Leoben, and K1-MET, focuses on exploring hydrogen's potential to reduce fine iron ore. The resultant hot sponge iron could be melted down in an electric arc furnace or utilized in producing hot briquetted iron (HBI).

"The Technikum Metallurgie serves as an ideal testing ground for swiftly adapting our steels to meet customer needs and evolving market demands," expressed Franz Kainersdorfer, Head of the Metal Engineering Division and Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG. "I'm delighted that we are pioneering green steel production and extend my gratitude to all researchers and employees for their dedication."

At the Technikum Metallurgie, voestalpine conducts research into developing new high-performance steels destined for special rails, premium wire rods, and heavy-duty oil field pipes. This product development follows a CO2-reduced pathway, with the input material melted using electricity sourced from renewable energy.

In a significant step slated for 2027, voestalpine aims to slash its CO2 emissions by up to 30% by partially replacing its existing coal-based blast furnace technology with electric arc furnace technology fueled by green electricity. This endeavor is poised to mitigate almost 5% of Austria's annual CO2 emissions, positioning greentec steel as Austria's largest climate protection program.

The Group's ultimate goal is carbon-neutral steel production by 2050, driving intensive research into novel processes and investing in pilot projects exploring new pathways in steel production.

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