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India - The world's second-largest producer of crude steel goes green with Green Hydrogen

India - The world's second-largest producer of crude steel goes green with Green Hydrogen
Gemini based AI creation: The global steel industry emitted around 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2020

"India's first Green Hydrogen Plant in the Stainless Steel Sector, situated at Jindal Stainless Limited in Hisar"

India is the world's second-largest producer of crude steel, boasting a production of 125.32 million tonnes (MT) of crude steel and 121.29 MT of finished steel in the fiscal year 2022-23. Demonstrating remarkable growth over the past decade, India's steel sector has surged by 75% since 2008. Additionally, India maintains its status as a net steel exporter, exporting 6.72 MT of finished steel in 2022-23 while importing 6.02 MT.

Additional Facts:

Top Steel-Producing Countries

  1. China: Far exceeding any other country with roughly 1 billion metric tons annually.
  2. India: Producing approximately 120-125 million metric tons annually.
  3. Japan: Around 90-100 million metric tons annually.
  4. United States: Production within the 80-85 million metric tons range annually.
  5. Russia: Roughly 70-75 million metric tons annually.
  6. South Korea: Approximately 65-70 million metric tons annually.
  7. Turkey: Around 40 million metric tons annually.
  8. Germany: About 40 million metric tons annually.
  9. Brazil: Production in the range of 35-36 million metric tons annually.
  10. Iran: Approximately 30 million metric tons annually.

In the current scenario, steel is produced using the conventional coal reduction process. Conventional steel production with coal is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. The iron and steel industry accounts for around 7-9% of global energy sector (including process energy sector) CO2 emissions, with coal being the primary fuel used in the production process. The use of coal in steel production results in significant CO2 emissions, as coal is a carbon-intensive fossil fuel. The CO2 emissions from conventional steel production are mainly generated during the ironmaking process, where coal is used as a reducing agent to convert iron ore into pig iron. The process releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. According to the World Steel Association, the global steel industry emitted around 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2020.

Green hydrogen has emerged as a promising alternative to coal in the steel industry, offering a cleaner and more sustainable option for steel production. The green hydrogen-based direct reduction of iron (DRI) presents an environmentally friendly approach to iron production, devoid of greenhouse gas emissions. The process commences with the preparation of iron ore, which undergoes crushing and beneficiation to eliminate impurities. Subsequently, green hydrogen (H2) is generated via electrolysis, leveraging renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. In the DRI reactor, typically a vertical shaft furnace, the iron ore and green hydrogen react, with hydrogen reducing the iron ore to metallic iron (Fe) as per the chemical equation: Fe2O3 + 3H2 → 2Fe + 3H2O. The resulting reduced iron, termed sponge iron, is then separated from the off-gases, consisting mainly of water vapor (H2O) and unreacted hydrogen (H2). After cooling and screening processes, a consistent product size is obtained. The advantages of green hydrogen-based DRI are manifold. Firstly, it significantly reduces emissions by eliminating the use of fossil fuels, unlike conventional coal-based ironmaking. Secondly, it boasts higher energy efficiency, requiring less energy to produce the same amount of iron compared to traditional blast furnaces. Moreover, the flexibility of green hydrogen-based DRI plants allows for scalable operations to meet fluctuating demand, while their modular design facilitates easier expansion and plant relocation if necessary.

India is taking climate leadership

Jindal Stainless Limited, Hisar.

India, as the world's second-largest producer of steel, is taking significant steps towards sustainability by addressing the emission impact of the steel industry. This commitment is demonstrated through the initiation of India's first Green Hydrogen Plant in the Stainless Steel Sector, situated at Jindal Stainless Limited in Hisar. Notably, this facility represents the world's premier off-grid green hydrogen plant dedicated solely to the stainless steel industry. This plant, anticipated to commence operations with an initial production of 78 tonnes per year of green hydrogen, will be owned and operated by Hygenco India, a developer of green hydrogen facilities, for a period of 20 years. Following this tenure, ownership and operations will be transferred to JSL. The primary objective of the plant is to achieve a substantial reduction in carbon emissions, with a targeted reduction of approximately 2,700 Metric Tonnes per annum and 54,000 tons of CO2 emissions over the next two decades.

Green hydrogen-based direct reduction of iron (DRI) presents a transformative opportunity for the steel industry to decarbonize and achieve sustainable production. By replacing coal with green hydrogen as the reducing agent, this process eliminates carbon emissions associated with conventional steelmaking. It offers numerous advantages, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy efficiency, and potential cost savings in the long term. However, challenges such as the high cost of green hydrogen production, the need for substantial infrastructure development, and the availability of renewable energy sources need to be addressed. Overcoming these challenges will require collaboration among governments, industries, and research institutions to drive innovation, scale up green hydrogen production, and create a supportive policy framework. The opportunities for green hydrogen-based DRI are immense, as it aligns with global efforts to mitigate climate change and transition towards a low-carbon future.