“Green” lime for “green” steel

Gilles Le Van (Air Liquide), Thomas Perterer (Lhoist), NRW-Wirtschafts- und Klimaschutzministerin Mona Neubaur und Dr. Arnd Köfler (thyssenkrupp Steel) vor den Öfen von Europas größtem Kalkwerk in Wülfrath (v.l.). © Malte Reiter

Lime manufacturer Lhoist Germany aims to avoid around one million tons of CO2 in just a few years to support the production of green steel with climate-neutral lime. Together with Air Liquide, Lhoist is working on a plan for a large-scale industrial plant to capture the CO2 produced during lime production. For thyssenkrupp Steel, green lime is another important building block in the transformation of Europe’s biggest steel site in Duisburg.

Thomas Perterer, Managing Director of Lhoist Germany, promised: “We will work closely with our partners Air Liquide and Thyssenkrupp Steel to drive forward the transformation of the Duisburg steel site. We can only succeed in this with the cooperation of industry, politics and society. As with hydrogen, we need to create a CO2 infrastructure and develop solutions for unavoidable emissions. In this way we can lead NRW’s industrial base into the future with its grandchildren safe.”

Climate-neutral lime as a basic material for steel production

Lime is needed in numerous industrial value chains. In steelmaking, lime products are indispensable for removing interfering by-elements from the pig iron and binding them in the lime-derived converter slag. The production of green steel thus requires green lime. This is a particular challenge, as lime production generates CO2 emissions that are unavoidable. In the future, these emissions are to be captured and industrially recycled or stored.

Dr. Arnd Köfler, Chief Technology Officer at thyssenkrupp Steel: “With the construction of our first hydrogen-based direct reduction plant we are setting a milestone for the direct avoidance of 3.5 million tons of CO2. And the decarbonization of the entire steel supply chain is also making progress. This project here at Europe’s biggest lime site is a perfect example of this. I am delighted that in Lhoist we have a supplier in a long-standing partnership that is leading the way with this ambitious project and supporting the transformation.”

Establish CO2 infrastructure in parallel with hydrogen as an energy carrier

Just recently thyssenkrupp Steel and Air Liquide announced the completion of the first pipeline to supply Germany’s biggest steel mill with hydrogen from renewable energies. However, the further decarbonization of industry also requires the parallel development of a sustainable CO2 infrastructure, said Gilles Le Van, Vice President Large Industries and Energy Transition for Air Liquide Central Europe: “Unavoidable CO2 emissions from lime production can be captured with our technology and then safely transported, reused or stored. But to do this, we need to start building a CO2 infrastructure today. The more resolutely we act now, the faster we will also achieve effective climate protection in industry.”

NRW state government supports industry’s conversion to climate neutrality

Climate protection in industry is the core topic of Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economy, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia. As recently as December, the minister, acting as lead minister for the North Rhine-Westphalian state government, concluded the “Industrial Pact for Climate Neutrality and Competitiveness” with around 20 industrial companies and 11 industry and technology associations, including Lhoist. The minister’s visit to Europe’s largest lime plant in Wülfrath-Flandersbach therefore focused on the question of how the industrial transformation to climate neutrality can work in practice.

Economics Minister Mona Neubaur: “The lime industry is one of the few sectors with unavoidable CO2 emissions whose products will remain indispensable in the future – and not just in the steel industry. Lime is ubiquitous in industry, but also in agriculture and environmental protection, and is virtually irreplaceable. Against this background, I am all the more pleased that three major companies based in NRW are tackling this challenge together. The cross-sectoral cohesion of industry in North Rhine-Westphalia is exemplary on the way to a climate-neutral future.”