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Nippon Steel Advances Hydrogen Technology to Cut CO2 Emissions

If Nippon Steel can successfully develop the technology use hydrogen in place of convention coal in steelmaking, it could cut CO2 emissions by up to 50%.



Test blast furnace of NEDO's Green Innovation Fund project on hydrogen utilization in steelmaking at Nippon Steel's Kimitsu Steel Works. (Photo provided by NEDO)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - Nippon Steel Advances Hydrogen Technology to Cut CO2 Emissions

Nippon Steel is moving toward a next-generation steelmaking technology that significantly reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Conventionally, steel is produced from iron oxides extracted from iron ore, the raw material. Oxygen is removed through a chemical reaction (reduction) with coal (carbon), resulting in CO2 emissions. This involves about two tons of CO2 emissions per ton of steel produced. 

In the next-generation technology, hydrogen plays the role of coal. At its test facility, Nippon Steel has achieved 33% less emissions, the world's highest emissions reduction for steelmaking.

Temperature Control Is Key

The technology being developed is called hydrogen reduction for blast furnaces. It is part of a research project promoted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) using the government's Green Innovation Fund.  Nippon Steel is taking the lead on the initiative.

Blast furnaces produce steel on a large scale using iron ore as raw material. High temperatures can reach up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. Reduction using coal can be continuously performed alongside iron melting due to the exothermic reaction of heat generation that releases heat.

On the other hand, hydrogen reduction is an endothermic reaction that absorbs heat. This causes the temperature in the blast furnace to drop, meaning reduction and iron melting are not continuous. 

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth to learn more about Nippon Steel's decarbonization plan.


And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs on our affiliated website Japan 2 Earth (J2E), sparking a transition to a sustainable future.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Noboru Ikeda