The SALCOS concept (SAlzgitter Low CO2Steelmaking) comprises hydrogen generation and the changeover of steel production from blast furnaces to direct reduction which will initially be based on natural gas and then increasingly on hydrogen. In the case of a complete conversion to direct reduction plants, hydrogen would completely replace the carbon previously required for steel production, thus reducing CO2 emissions by more than 95 %.
Salzgitter AG has taken the first step by setting up a high-temperature electrolysis plant in which hydrogen is produced using waste heat from the steelworks. With a nominal output of 720 kWel, the plant can produce 200 Nm³ of hydrogen per hour, making it the largest facility of its kind in the world.
The next step is currently being taken with the construction of a pilot plant for the production of direct reduced iron (DRI). It is the first DRI unit that can be operated flexibly with natural gas and hydrogen.