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Second half of the game for CO2 storage project

8 November, 2022

Over a period of fours years 19 researchers from ten countries have tested concepts and technologies that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from steel production by 95 percent. The project has now reached the half-time mark and project manager Magnus Lundqvist at Swerim says that some stages have already surpassed expectations.

"The test pieces we have heated have not been fully analysed, but the actual trials have gone very well. Reaching the right temperature went even faster than we had expected," reports project manager Magnus Lundqvist, following completion of the first round of trials in late September, continuing, "We have separated carbon dioxide from blast furnace off-gas and we have used the remaining blend of nitrogen and hydrogen for heating. We have also tested the gas quality and determined that the carbon dioxide can be stored."

The EU project C4U (Advanced Carbon Capture for steel industries integrated in CCUS Clusters) concerns two different concepts and technologies that are being tested: to utilise blast furnace off-gases for heating furnaces in steel production, and to capture and store carbon dioxide. The aim is to separate carbon dioxide from the gas prior to the combustion process and use the energy in the gas to produce hydrogen, and to capture carbon dioxide after the combustion process. The next campaign of trials will take place in late November.

"Then, we will test another variant; we will separate the carbon dioxide after burning it during heating. In that way, we will be able to see which variant is most efficient for the furnace and how that impacts heat transfer to the steel. We will then assess the quality of the steel, looking at factors such as the formation of undesirable mill scale," explains Magnus Lundqvist. Paul Cobden, his colleague at Swerim and innovation manager for the project, has an international overview of concurrent research. For example, similar trials are being conducted in parallel in Sweden and Spain.

"Steel is a global product that is indispensable for society. At the same time, the steelmaking process involves many different stages, all of which can lead to CO2 emissions. The great thing about C4U is that we can work together along the entire production chain to reduce emissions. This can only be possible via international collaboration.”

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing science related to climate change, has emphasized the necessity of CO2 capture and storage for mitigating climate change. Where steel production is concerned, the Hybrit project, of which the aim is to achieve entirely fossil-fuel-free steelmaking, has attracted considerable attention in Sweden and internationally," says Paul Cobden, emphasizing the necessity for concurrent research, such as the ongoing C4U project.

"All countries have different prerequisites for steel production and, when it comes to reducing the carbon dioxide footprint, it's a matter of finding the optimal method for each country. Not all countries have the same possibilities for producing green electricity as Sweden does, which is a prerequisite for Hybrit's technology."

Participating in C4U

Participating in the international project are: UCL, Swerim, Radbound Universiteit Nijmegen, CSIC, ArcelorMittal, Kisuma Chemicals, University of Manchester, Politecnico di Milano, TNO, Element Energy, Canmet , BGR, Dalian University of Technology, Ineris, CEPS, Wood, Carmeuse, Climate Strategies, Johnson Matthey and the University of Sheffield.

Picture: For the first time, carbon-free fuel has been used to re-heat metal test pieces. This was done during trials at Swerim's pilot plant in Luleå this autumn.