OGE, Thyssenkrupp and Equinor hatch hydrogen plan for Duisburg steel

FILE PHOTO: A crane lifts up a steel coil at the storage and distribution facility of the steel plant of German steel maker ThyssenKrupp in Duisburg, Germany, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German gas transmission system operator OGE, steel producer Thyssenkrupp and Norwegian energy company Equinor on Tuesday said they would deepen cooperation to help cut carbon emissions from a Thyssenkrupp plant in Duisburg, Germany.

The three said a feasibility study for the project, started in October 2019 and known as H2morrow, had shown that it would be possible to split CO2 from hydrogen derived from fossil fuels used in steelmaking and store it by the year 2027.

H2morrow comes amid a raft of initiatives in Germany and the European Union to usher in a switch to “green” hydrogen production based purely on renewable power that is run through water at electrolysis plants.

The hydrogen push aims to decarbonise European industries, to avoid CO2 being released into the atmosphere, by scaling up electrolysis and building a mass market for clean hydrogen for manufacturing, utilities and transport.

“The partners intend to continue working on further details and build the basis for potential investment decisions,” they said.

Energy-intensive industries such as steel mills cannot perform an instant conversion to green hydrogen in the absence of mass output and available imports, but ahead of its arrival they can ramp up the necessary process and pipeline infrastructure.

The idea is for OGE and Equinor to supply initially gas and then hydrogen to Thyssenkrupp via pipelines, and transport CO2 sequestered from the steelmaking process away to storage underneath the Dutch or Norwegian North Sea via pipelines or ships.

The partners have identified potential hydrogen production sites on the windy Dutch coast in Eemshaven and at two other locations on the German North Sea coast with possible capacities of 1.4 or 2.7 gigawatts.

Sequestered hydrogen, known as “blue” hydrogen could become cost competitive in the medium term, they said.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Steve Orlofsky