The EU project HyInHeat is researching the use of hydrogen in the aluminum and steel industry. The EU is contributing €17.7 million in funding to the €24-million project. The main objective of HyInHeat is the integration of hydrogen as fuel for high-temperature heating processes in the energy-intensive industries. While some of the equipment is already presented as hydrogen-ready, the integration of hydrogen combustion in heating processes still needs adoption and redesign of infrastructure, equipment and the process itself.
HyInHeat realizes the implementation of efficient hydrogen combustion systems to decarbonize heating and melting processes of the aluminum and steel sectors, covering almost their complete process chains. To reach this overarching objective within the project, furnace and equipment such as burners or measurement and control technology but also infrastructure is redesigned, modified and implemented in eight demonstrators at technical centres and industrial plants.
Besides hydrogen-air heating, oxygen-enriched combustion and hydrogen-oxyfuel heating is being implemented to boost energy efficiency and to decrease the future hydrogen fuel demand of the processes. This might result in a total redesign of the heating process itself which will be supported by simulation methods enhancing digitalization along the value chain.
The Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering (IOB) at RWTH Aachen University is researching the efficient and clean combustion of hydrogen for the aluminum and steel industry in the EU project “HyInHeat” alongside 30 partners from twelve countries.
Since critical production processes are being converted, it is a fundamental requirement to maintain product quality and yield. Priority is also given to the refractory lining to prove sustainability.
From an environmental perspective, new concepts for NOx emission measurement in hydrogen combustion off-gas are being developed. Material flow analysis and life cycle analysis methods will support the comprehensive cross-sectorial evaluation, which allows the determination of the potential for the implementation of hydrogen heating processes in energy intensive industry.
The project, which will run until the end of 2026 with 30 partners from 12 countries, is being coordinated by the Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering (IOB) at RWTH Aachen University. The University's Institute of Mineral Engineering (GHI) and the Institute for Combustion Technology (ITV) are also involved.
While some components such as burners have already been classified as suitable for hydrogen combustion, the holistic integration of hydrogen as a fuel in industrial thermal processes requires an adaptation of the plant technology, the process technology as well as the infrastructure.—Professor Herbert Pfeifer, head of the IOB