I3P joined the European project H2STEEL for the green transition of the metal industry

I3P Network

An innovative solution to convert wet waste streams into green hydrogen and carbon, while recovering critical raw materials.

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Achieving the net zero emissions target set by the European Commission is a huge challenge that cannot be met without rethinking the materials and energy production chains. The European project H2STEEL, funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) of the European Union, proposes an innovative solution to convert wet waste streams into green hydrogen and carbon, while recovering critical raw materials.

H2STEEL is being developed by a consortium led by Politecnico di Torino, with the participation of the incubator I3P, the renewable energy research and demonstration consortium RE-CORD, the University of Leiden, and the companies ArcelorMittal and Contactica SL.

The proposed solution aims to support the green transition of one of the most difficult industrial sectors to work on, metallurgy. Specifically, H2STEEL combines the conversion of organic waste and biomethane through the process of catalytic pyrolysis coupled with leaching to fully convert organic waste into green hydrogen, green carbon (biocarbon) and recovery of critical (inorganic) raw materials.

The pyrolysis of biomethane - the process of splitting the carbon and hydrogen contained in natural gas without producing carbon monoxide emissions - is carried out in a purpose-designed reactor using a temperature and contaminant resistant catalyst: this will improve the efficiency of the methane cracking phase to generate green hydrogen. The resulting carbon-based materials are then used in the iron and steel industry to replace metallurgical (fossil) coke, generating a net reduction in greenhouse gases that complies with the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). The process thus avoids the release of CO2 into the atmosphere (as occurs in the SMR process or in most catalyst regeneration steps).

"H2STEEL makes it possible, thanks also to the support of the European Commission, to proceed along a strategic line for Politecnico di Torino," explained Professor David Chiaramonti, project coordinator and Vice Rector for Internationalisation at the Politecnico di Torino, "that of accompanying the transformation of processes and the industrial sector towards a sustainable transition, through the introduction of innovative solutions. Specifically, by addressing one of the most complex sectors in the decarbonisation path, and by valorising residual raw materials."

The project was operationally launched with the Kick-Off Meeting held on October 3rd and 4th, 2022 at the 'Galileo Ferraris' department of Politecnico di Torino, in the presence of the various actors involved in the consortium.