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Carbon2Chem: utilising smelting gases

In the “Carbon2Chem” research project, representatives from the fields of science, business and industry are working on a new way of utilising smelting gases from steel production. The gas is used as the raw material for chemicals, from which fuels, plastics and artificial fertilizers can be manufactured. In addition, this process uses surplus electricity produced by renewable energies.

During steel production at smelting works, so-called smelting gases are generated in the blast furnace, in the converter steel mill and in the coking plant; amongst other things, these gases contain nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and a low level of methane. The Carbon2Chem research project, which is divided into seven subprojects, is investigating the material use of smelting gases and testing new methods of utilising them.

Engine for progress:

  • greenhouse gases used as the raw material for new products
  • use of surplus electricity from renewable energy sources
  • close collaboration between research and industry

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Foto: ThyssenKrupp

During steel production at smelting works, so-called smelting gases are generated in the blast furnace, in the converter steel mill and in the coking plant; amongst other things, these gases contain nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and a low level of methane. The Carbon2Chem research project, which is divided into seven subprojects, is investigating the material use of smelting gases.



Reducing CO2 emissions through the material use of the gases, stabilising the power grid

Since the end of the 19th century, the steel industry has been using its smelting gases to generate energy, which is then used in the production of steel. In the Carbon2Chem project, ammonia and methanol can now be produced from the smelting gases, and these can subsequently be converted into mineral fertilizers and fuels, for example. The material use of the gases ties up CO2, which would otherwise be released if they were used to produce energy. Additional hydrogen is needed for the conversion of the smelting gases and this is produced by electrolysis. For this process, Carbon2Chem uses surplus electricity from renewable energy sources, which is available at times when production of electricity from renewable energy facilities is high and demand from the grid is low. Thus, in addition to making use of the smelting gases, the process also contributes to stabilising the power grid. With the approach suggested by “Carbon2Chem”, 20 million tonnes of the CO2 emissions produced annually by the steel sector in Germany would be harnessed for commercial use in future.

The Ruhr district research region

A total of 16 partners from the areas of basic and applied research and from various sectors of industry are involved in the project. Thyssenkrupp AG instigated the project and its responsibilities include integrating the results of the subprojects. The majority of the research is taking place in the Ruhr district and includes work on new chemical processes, catalysts and the resulting products. In Duisburg, a technical centre is being built, which will serve as a key research facility. The project strengthens the impact of the research institutes located in NRW and demonstrates the potential for innovation that exists there.

ThyssenKrupp





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