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Cleveland-Cliffs completes successful blast furnace hydrogen injection trial at Indiana Harbor #7 blast furnace

Cleveland-Cliffs successfully completed a hydrogen injection trial at its Indiana Harbor #7 blast furnace, the largest blast furnace in North America, with a production capacity of 5.5 million tons of iron a year.

This represents the second Cleveland-Cliffs blast furnace to utilize hydrogen as a reductant and fuel source, following the successful trial at Middletown Works in May of 2023.

Indiana Harbor #7 is among the largest blast furnaces in the entire world, both in size and production capacity. IH#7 also compares favorably against similar equipment in Japan, Korea, China or Europe, for its technological capability to support the production of high-end steels, including highly specified automotive feedstock.

Cliffs recently completed the commissioning of the hydrogen pipeline at Indiana Harbor, which was used for this trial. This successful commissioning marks another significant achievement toward Cliffs’ future GHG reduction efforts, completing the pipeline in advance of schedule, below budget and without incident. Cliffs' hydrogen gas supplier, Linde, was a critical partner in the successful execution of this major trial.

As the American iron and steel leader, we are proud that we are ahead of the rest of the world in using the technologies that make our blast furnace steel the cleanest in the world, including using iron ore pellets, natural gas injection, HBI, and now hydrogen.

—Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ Chairman, President and CEO

Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. Founded in 1847 as a mine operator, Cliffs also is the largest manufacturer of iron ore pellets in North America. The company is vertically integrated from mined raw materials, direct reduced iron, and ferrous scrap to primary steelmaking and downstream finishing, stamping, tooling, and tubing. Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest supplier of steel to the automotive industry in North America and serves a diverse range of other markets due to its comprehensive offering of flat-rolled steel products.

The Indiana Harbor works was established by Inland Steel in 1901. Inland was acquitred by Ipsat in 1998; Ispat became Mittal Steel in 2004 and then ArcelorMittal in 2006. In 2020, Cleveland-Cliffs acquired most of ArcelorMittal USA. [Green Car Congress’s editor worked at the Indiana Harbor works (#4 BOF) when it was Inland Steel.]



Video from 'Just have a think' on using green hydrogen for steelmaking here:

I am wondering if you would save emissions even if you used non-green hydrogen, and if so, how much?


I will repeat a post I made on 'Just have a think'

' t seems a mistake to assume that we have to go completely green in one leap.
The price of green hydrogen is currently much higher than hydrogen from fossil fuels.
However with falling costs of electrolysers and renewables the gap is ever narrowing.
It is way, way easier if you are running your blast furnaces on hydrogen to switch the supply of hydrogen than to leave it, and not convert the blast furnaces to hydrogen until totally green hydrogen is available.
If you ask the wrong question, you get the wrong answer.
It makes IMO no sense to delay switching to hydrogen in steel making because the production of hydrogen is not currently completely green.'


In very depressing news, AncelorMittal after taking the odd few billion in subsidies for installing hydrogen ready equipment at their European blast furnaces, now reckon that hydrogen in Europe will be too expensive to make the process viable, so intend to run them on fossil fuels indefinitely:

Astonishingly it would seem that there are no claw back provisions in place.

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