The direct reduction plant used in the µDRAL project is designed to enable climate-friendly steel production.

© Salzgitter AG

µDRAL - direct reduction plant for climate-friendly steel production

In the μDRAL project project of Salzgitter AG, the world's first direct reduction plant is being used in an integrated steel mill that can be operated flexibly with hydrogen and natural gas. This enables - when using green hydrogen - the production of crude steel to reduce CO2-emissions by up to 95% in the production of crude steel.

Direct reduction enables the avoidance of CO2 in steel production and is a significant sub-step of Salzgitter AG's SALCOS® project. The name μ here stands for the downsizing scale of the planned direct reduction plant: The project is initially intended to serve as a demonstration of the process and to gain the necessary knowledge in order to be able to rely on direct reduction plants on a larger scale in a few years' time.

In direct reduction, iron ore is first converted into sponge iron by means of a reducing gas such as natural gas or hydrogen. In this process, iron ore is converted into sponge iron at positive pressure and approx. 1.00 Celsius, oxygen is dissolved from the iron ore without it melting. In contrast to steel production in blast furnaces, no CO2but water, which in turn can be reused.

The direct reduction plant µDRAL can use use natural gas and hydrogen in flexible proportions. Thus, the plant can use 100% natural gas as a reducing agent, but also 100% hydrogen and any mixing ratio. In this way, the natural gas share can be successively reduced and finally completely replaced by hydrogen. The supply of the demonstrator plant with green hydrogen is to be carried out with the subprojects WindH2 and GrInHy2.0.

©Salzgitter AG

The green hydrogen is to be produced directly on the plant site. © Salzgitter AG

13.6 million will be invested in the construction of the μDRAL plant. The environmental innovation program of the German government supports the project with a quota of 40%. The partner in project planning and implementation as well as the technological supplier of the µDRAL plant is Tenova, an international manufacturer of equipment for the metal and mining industry. Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH is providing the necessary infrastructure

More about the project


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Salzgitter AG is a steel and technology group with over 24,000 employees. Hydrogen plays a crucial role for the company in the production of climate-neutral steel.

Logo: © Salzgitter AG