How fast can European steelmakers decarbonise?

At the steelworks near the German city of Salzgitter, ironmaking is a dramatic affair. Red-hot molten metal pours forth from the bottom of towering blast furnaces. The noise is deafening. Sparks fly everywhere. Soon things will be much more sedate. Seven wind turbines already tower over the site, run by a firm called Salzgitter AG. In a few years the electricity they generate will power banks of electrolysers, container-sized machines that split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen will replace coke in reducing iron ore to iron in a new type of furnace, which will operate at much lower temperatures. Instead of CO2, the process will emit H2O.

Listen to this story. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android.

Your browser does not support the

The fireworks will be gone—but the climate will be grateful. Conventional steelmaking emits carbon dioxide twice over: first to generate the intense heat needed to force the coke to react with the ore in the blast furnace;…

Continue Reading →

This article was written by and originally published on