ThyssenKrupp initiates project to convert process gases from steel production into base chemicals
In collaboration with partners from research and industry,
ThyssenKrupp AG is initiating a cross-sector technology transfer project
focusing on converting process gases from steel production into
valuable chemicals. The electricity for this is to come from renewable
sources. 'The philosophy behind the project is a broad-based,
cross-industry approach. A cross-system solution of this kind will
deliver better results than today's already optimized sector-specific
solutions. The intention is for the collaboration between the steel and
chemical industries to permit cost-effective carbon recycling into
fertilizers or fuel. So potentially the project could reduce CO2
emissions from steel mills to virtually zero,' says Dr. Reinhold Achatz,
Chief Technology Officer at ThyssenKrupp AG.
Schl?gl, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy
Conversion in MÃ¼lheim: 'The mission of our institute is to research the
fundamental chemical processes involved in energy conversion and thus
contribute to the development of new and more efficient catalysts.'
Prof. Eckhard Weidner, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for
Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology, says: 'Our task is to put
the processes examined in the project to targeted industrial use.'
its subsidiaries ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, Germany's biggest
steelmaker, and ThyssenKrupp Uhde, a world leading engineering company
for chemical, refinery and other industrial plants, and with the Max
Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in MÃ¼lheim, ThyssenKrupp
AG has already carried out planning and preliminary research in a joint
Interest from potential partners is high:
Around 40 representatives from research organizations, universities and
companies gathered in Duisburg in December 2013 to launch the project.
In addition to the Fraunhofer and Max Planck societies, the group
includes Ruhr University Bochum, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and
the Duisburg-based Fuel Cell Research Center ZBT. Alongside
ThyssenKrupp, the industrial partners involved from the start are BASF,
Bayer, RWE and Siemens. The group is open to further members.
Project promotes climate protection, energy transition and North Rhine-Westphalia as a center of industry
the project is successful, in roughly ten years CO2 will be a valuable
raw material and will have a significantly lower impact on the climate.
Moreover, it would then be possible to use surplus renewable energies
directly in the manufacture of industrial products, creating a new
network between the steelmaking, power generation and chemical
industries, which together employ almost 200,000 people in North
'Bayer MaterialScience has already demonstrated
that CO2 can be a viable alternative for the sustainable production of
plastics,' says Dr. Tony van Osselaer, head of Industrial Operations.
'That's a start. Now it's up to industry, science and government to
build on this momentum and drive the broad-based use of CO2 as a
chemical raw material.' Prof. Rolf Hellinger, head of Power & Energy
Technologies at Siemens Corporate Technology, adds: 'The
collaboratively developed conversion processes for industrial waste
gases will be an important element of future sustainable energy
Prospects and challenges
The prospects for the
project are good, as the basic chemical processes and required
technologies are already largely known. The aim of the project is to
clarify important practical issues such as the durability of catalysts,
the purification of gas streams, and efficient process control.
Converting process gases from steel mills into ammonia for use in the
production of fertilizers is already technically possible, though not
yet commercially viable. This process would recycle part of the CO2
contained in the steel mill gases. Another possibility would be to
produce methanol from steel mill gas, a process in which the CO2
content could be almost completely re-used.
The use of renewable
energies for chemical conversion would require catalysts capable of
handling large fluctuations in the process. This is an area where more
research and development work is necessary. A further challenge:
Converting all the CO2 contained in the steel mill gas requires large
amounts of additional hydrogen. This calls for the development of new,
cost-efficient methods of producing hydrogen that can operate even with a
sharply fluctuating energy supply.
ThyssenKrupp has around 157,000 employees in just under 80
countries working with passion and expertise to develop solutions for
sustainable progress. Their skills and commitment are the basis of our
success. In fiscal year 2012/2013 ThyssenKrupp generated sales of around
Innovations and technical progress are key
factors in managing global growth and using finite resources in a
sustainable way. With our engineering expertise in the areas of
'Mechanical', 'Plant' and 'Material', we enable our customers to gain an
edge in the global market and manufacture innovative products in a cost
and resource efficient way.
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