Flat-rolled steel producer Cleveland-Cliffs has completed a blast furnace hydrogen injection trial at its Middletown Works facility in Middletown, Ohio.
According to the company, the trial was completed on May 8, and marked a significant step towards the decarbonization of blast furnaces.
“We are proud to be the first company in the Americas to inject hydrogen into a blast furnace – a demonstration of our commitment to develop and implement breakthrough technological advancements toward decarbonization,” said Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland-Cliffs. “Cleveland-Cliffs thrives on innovation, so it was fitting that this major step was completed just a short distance from our Cliffs Research and Innovation Center in Middletown, Ohio.”
The trial involved the injection of hydrogen gas into all 20 tuyeres at the Middletown #3 blast furnace, resulting in the production of low-emission pig iron – a crucial component in high-end steelmaking, particularly for the automotive industry.
By using hydrogen as a partial substitute for coke in iron reduction, the release of CO2 was replaced with H2O (water vapor) without any impact on operating efficiency or product quality, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company said. The hydrogen was delivered to the Middletown facility through the existing pipeline and transportation infrastructure used for other hydrogen uses, including annealing furnaces.
“This achievement proves our ability to use green hydrogen throughout our footprint when it becomes readily and economically available, including in our seven blast furnaces and our state-of-the-art direct reduction facility,” Goncalves added. This success confirms “there is a bright, sustainable and environmentally friendly future for the much needed BF-BOF steelmaking technology.”