Voestalpine to switch to green steel production via EAFs by 2027

Austrian steelmaking group Voestalpine intends to replace coal-fuelled blast furnaces with climate-friendly electric-arc furnaces (EAFs) powered by green electricity at its sites in Linz and Donawitz by 2027, the company said in a press release on Wednesday March 23

Implementation of the project to decarbonize steel production will allow the company to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 30%, Voestalpine said. “This will correspond to a saving of around 3-4 million tonnes per year of CO2, or almost 5% of Austria’s annual carbon emissions,” it added.

According to the project plan, Voestalpine will start to clear the necessary areas and convert infrastructure at Linz and Donawitz in the summer of 2022, to allow the start of EAF construction in 2024. The two EAFs should commence operations by early 2027, it said.

The estimated investment during the first phase from 2022 to 2024 will be in the low triple-digit million-euro range, with total investment estimated around €1 billion ($1.1 billion), according to the statement.

But the final decision to invest in EAFs will be taken by Voestalpine’s supervisory board in 2023, the company said.

“A market for green steel is emerging in Europe. A particular driver behind this development is the European automotive industry,” Herbert Eibensteiner, chairman of the management board, said.

Over the long term, Voestalpine intended to achieve carbon-neutral steel production using green hydrogen, it said, and it has already undertaken intensive research into promising breakthrough technologies.

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