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Decarbonising the steel industry Interview with Dr Uwe Braun, CEO ArcelorMittal Hamburg

Decarbonising the steel industry

EEHH: Can you describe the decarbonisation plans at ArcelorMittal? How much progress have you already made?

Dr Uwe Braun: ‘At ArcelorMittal, we are pursuing various ways to decarbonise our production in Europe and worldwide. They include carbon capture and storage as well as the use of biochar in blast furnaces, the production of bioethanol from carbon and, in future, innovative technologies such as direct electrolysis. Another important method is to convert production technology from blast furnaces to the direct reduction of iron ore. This creates the preliminary product sponge iron, which is then placed in the electric arc furnace with steel scrap to obtain new steel. This process already cuts CO2 emissions by over 50% compared to blast furnace production with iron ore and coking coal.’

EEHH: Which projects are you planning at the Hamburg site?

Dr Uwe Braun: ‘We have operated a direct reduction plant in Hamburg since 1970. It uses natural gas to convert iron ore into the primary product sponge iron. Afterwards it is placed in an electric arc furnace together with recycled scrap to produce new steel. Our plans going forward are to switch from natural gas to hydrogen. The engineers have already completed their preliminary planning, and the financial support for the Federal Republic of Germany has been approved by the EU Commission. All we are waiting for now is the national funding decision. Beyond this, though, competitive volumes and prices for renewable electricity and green hydrogen are also decisive factors, as is availability – and it is currently inadequate.’

EEHH: How would you assess the Federal Government’s current energy policies? What do you expect from German politicians, and what would you like to see more of?

Dr Uwe Braun: ‘The German government's industrial policy must lay the foundations and create the necessary frameworks for us to proceed with making a final decision whether to invest. This includes competitive energy prices as well as climate protection contracts to offset the initially higher costs of climate-neutral steel.’

EEHH: What do you expect from the EEHH Cluster Agency?

Dr Uwe Braun: ‘To continue building such strong networks between the stakeholders and to ramp up the hydrogen economy even more – these factors are vitally important for us all to overcome the challenges on the road to climate neutrality together.’

Thanks for the interview!

About Astrid Dose

Profilbild zu: Astrid Dose

Talking, writing, organising – and having lots of fun! This is what my days at the EEHH Cluster look like. I’ve been responsible for public relations and marketing for the Hamburg industry network since 2011. I studied History and English and have a soft spot for technical issues.