Liberty Steel forms joint venture for hydrogen-based steel plant in France

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 22, 2021

Sanjeev Gupta   -  REUTERS

The project will realise the potential of steel and hydrogen working together to solve each other’s problems : Sanjeev Gupta

Liberty Steel Group, part of India-born British businessman Sanjeev Gupta-promoted GFG Alliance, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Paul Wurth and Stahl-Holding-Saar to set up an industrial-sized hydrogen-based steel-making plant at Dunkerque in France.

The plant will be one of the first of its kind in France. The pan-European partnership will work together on a project to incorporate a 2-million-tonne Direct Reduced Iron plant with an integrated 1 GW capacity hydrogen electrolysis production unit, next to GFG’s Alvance Aluminium Dunkerque site.

The DRI plant will initially use a mix of hydrogen and natural gas as reductant to produce DRI and hot-briquetted iron, before transitioning to use 100 per cent hydrogen once the electrolysis production unit is complete.

The DRI/HBI produced will primarily be used in the electric arc furnace of Liberty Ascoval in France and any surplus will be used at Liberty’s Ostrava and Galati integrated steelworks and the SHS-group’s Dillinger and Saarstahl plants in Germany.

Liberty has been working with Paul Wurth and SHS on the technical and economic viability of the project since early last year. Now that initial feasibility work has proved successful, the partners have signed an MoU, Liberty Group said in a statement.

Also read: Liberty Steel restarts Adhunik, Zion Steel plants, employs 1,500 people

The first phase work will focus on improving the accuracy of the project’s commercial and technical feasibility, including reducing gas mix, potential partners (energy supply, hydrogen production and operation, DRI/HBI equipment) and funding opportunities. This phase is expected to take about 12 weeks.

The second phase will cover details required for the effective implementation of the project.

Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, GFG Alliance and Liberty Steel Group, said the project will realise the potential of steel and hydrogen working together to solve each other’s problems.

France is the ideal place to try, thanks to its strong industrial heritage, skilled workforce and low-carbon energy infrastructure, he added.

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Published on February 22, 2021
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