The decarbonisation of the steel industry
Currently, the use of the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) accounts for 41.5% of total European steel production, with peaks of 81% in Italy and 61% in Spain. Producing 100 tonnes of steel with an EAF requires the combustion of 370-750 Nm³ of natural gas, methane, or other fossil fuels, which results in 0.75-1.5 tons of CO2 emissions. If only 10% of natural gas were substituted with Hydrogen in the entire European steel production chain, a significant reduction in CO2 emissions would be achieved to the extent of 0.1 million tonnes per year.
Hydrogen is the gateway towards Carbon Neutrality
Based on this understanding, the Pittini Group has joined the European project DevH2forEAF. The company is therefore developing a new prototype of a hydrogen-fuelled burner designed for Electrical Arc Furnaces. In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, DevH2forEAF is one of 25 research projects in the coal and steel sectors selected and funded by the European Commission that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in steel production processes. The main objective of the participating enterprises is to develop and manufacture burners that can use Hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas in the combustion process when melting steel in Electrical Arc Furnaces. Hydrogen is a fuel that generates minimal pollution but also provides a high degree of efficient calorific value. For this reason, its applications as an alternative energy source are being explored.
The role of the Pittini Group in DevH2forEAF
The sustainability strategy of the Pittini Group is characterised by its continuity with the measures undertaken in the past, as well as by its attention to the evolution of the global scenario, particularly concerning issues linked to the environment. In fact, hydrogen-fuelled burner prototypes are being manufactured and tested at the Ferriere Nord production site in Osoppo (Udine). Experimental trials are used to analyse the performance of the burner, which will have to ensure mechanical and thermal resistance to the operating conditions of the electric arc furnace. This is an opportunity for the Group to acquire new skills and expertise in terms of technology, safety and permits related to the use of Hydrogen in order to be ready to face the challenges facing the steel industry in the near future.