The steel and technology group voestalpine, which is responsible for ten percent of domestic emissions of climate-damaging CO2, wants to go green and produce CO2-neutrally by 2050. As reported, coal-fired blast furnaces are to be phased out gradually by 2030 be converted to green electricity-powered electric arc furnaces. This could reduce CO2 emissions by around a third by 2030: That corresponds to a saving of four million tons of CO2 per year. To achieve this, voestalpine will replace two blast furnaces in Linz and Donawitz, Styria, with electric furnaces by 2030: green electricity will be required instead of coal. 1.5 billion euros will be invested in this, with Donawitz accounting for 450 million euros.
Today, Wednesday, construction work for the electric arc furnace officially began with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Donawitz site in Leoben, Styria: the necessary construction sites are being cleared. These are roughly the size of ten football fields. Construction of the electric arc furnace will begin in 2024 and will be operational in three years. When fully operational, around 850,000 tons of CO2-reduced steel will be produced annually. In contrast to the previous Linz-Donawitz process, in which coal and coke are used as reducing agents, the electric arc furnace can be operated without fossil fuels. Depending on the quality requirements, a mix of scrap, liquid pig iron and HBI is used.
CEO Herbert Eibensteiner spoke of the “next generation of steel production”: “By partially switching to electric arc technology at our two locations in Linz and Donawitz alone, we will reduce Austrian CO2 emissions by around five percent from 2027.” The “Greentec Steel” project is the largest climate protection program in Austria.
The use of green hydrogen in the steel production process is to be gradually increased, with CO2-neutral steel being produced by 2050. To achieve this, the sufficient availability of green electricity at economical prices is essential: In addition to supply contracts with domestic energy providers, the company’s own PV systems and wind turbines and hydroelectric power plants are to be built together with regional partners.