BloombergNEF, a primary research service that covers clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials and commodities, reported that the steel industry could use hydrogen, instead of fossil fuels, for between 10% and 50% of output by 2050. The sector accounts for as much as 9% of global carbon emissions, according to the World Steel Association. Hydrogen, which can be used instead of coke as reduction agents in a process called direct reduced iron, is already being tested by large steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal and Thyssenkrupp.
“Hydrogen technologies offer a viable pathway to slash the emissions from making steel,” Kobad Bhavnagri, head of special projects at BloombergNEF, said by email. “No big R&D breakthroughs are necessary. If policy was in place, the world could start producing green steel within a decade.”
“Hydrogen can do everything coal does in the steel-making process, and the technology to make fossil-free steel is already currently operating with natural gas in many parts of the world,” Bhavnagri added.
Hydrogen technology will be competitive with high-cost, coal-based plants when the cost of renewable hydrogen falls below $2.20/kg, which BloombergNEF reports is possible by 2030.