Thyssenkrupp proposes DRI concept in Germany

Steelmaker’s project is second announced DRI investment in Germany in 2020.

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September 1, 2020

Germany-based Thyssenkrupp says it has presented government officials in that nation with a concept for a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant that will supply its 1.1 million metric tons per year integrated steelmaking complex in Duisburg, Germany, with what it calls low-emissions metallics.

Says Thyssenkrupp CEO Martina Merz, “Our steel experts have presented a technologically sophisticated integrated climate concept for the largest steel production site in Europe. Based on this concept, we will set out the details for the sustainable transformation of our production by the beginning of 2021 as part of an implementation study. The concept will send out a strong signal far beyond Duisburg. We agree with the politicians that no company can shoulder the transformation alone. We need appropriate support and incentive instruments in the first instance.”

A press release announcing the concept for Thyssenkrupp’s “green steel” does not mention scrap metal, but instead concentrates on its liquefied DRI project. According to the steelmaker, “This blast furnace 2.0 produces ‘electrical hot metal,’ which is processed in the existing metallurgical plant in an energy-efficient manner. The integrated direct reduction plant is to be operated with green hydrogen and green power in future and is an important step toward the achievement of the climate goals of the company and those defined by the Paris Agreement.”

In terms of the liquified DRI process’s output, the company says, “The first quantities in 2022 will be 50,000 metric tons per year. This quantity will increase to some 950,000 tons from 2027, but only if green steel finds a ready market will the transformation be successful.”

Thyssenkrupp joins fellow German steelmaker Salzgitter in announcing a major DRI project in 2020. That firm’s planned facility in northern Germany could produce up to 2 million tons of DRI per year. It is unclear whether the Salzgitter DRI will be for an integrated steelmaking process or whether the firm may also install one or more electric arc furnaces (EAFs).

A 2020 analysis of North American DRI production expressed optimism for the future of the steelmaking metallic in the United States. The study by Arlington, Virginia-based B. Riley FBR Inc. found that “as [ferrous] scrap prices move higher and an increasing number of EAFs look to move up the value chain into higher value-add products, demand for OBMs [ore-based metallics] is nearing an inflection point, in our view.”