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Lhyfe and Swiss Steel Group subsidiary Ugitech sign a MoU to decarbonize operations using green hydrogen

Lhyfe, a producer of green and renewable hydrogen, and Ugitech, a subsidiary of Swiss Steel Group, a leader in long stainless steel products, signed of a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a green hydrogen production unit at Ugitech’s Ugine site (Savoie, France), to decarbonize part of the steelmaker’s industrial operations and help decarbonize local mobility.

This site, which is to be located in the heart of the French Alps where the 2030 Winter Olympics will be held, should also contribute to a sustainable model of winter tourism. This is the first agreement in Europe to replace fossil fuels with green hydrogen in the stainless steel sector.


View of Ugitech’s Ugine steel plant.

As part of its roadmap for decarbonizing its business, Swiss Steel Group has decided to use green hydrogen at the Ugitech plant to replace the natural gas used in some of its thermoprocessing equipment (burners, reheating furnaces, heat treatment furnaces, etc.). The steelmaker produces around 200,000 tonnes of steel a year; this project could avoid emitting 16,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Lhyfe, which is signing its first memorandum of understanding with a steel manufacturer, already has three production sites and is currently building several sites in Europe.

Lhyfe plans to install a green hydrogen production unit with a capacity up to twelve tonnes per day (a maximum electrolysis capacity of 30 MW), at Ugitech’s Ugine plant. This green hydrogen would be used mainly at the Ugitech plant, supplied via a pipeline. Lhyfe would also supply hydrogen to local mobility and industry players, to help develop the local hydrogen ecosystem, particularly in the run-up to the 2030 Winter Olympics.

The two partners are now entering the feasibility study phase of the project. Implementation of the project will be subject to the conclusions of this study, the granting of operating licences and building permits, and financial investment decisions.

Ugitech is coordinating the HYDREAMS project, which aims to demonstrate the feasibility of substituting natural gas with decarbonized hydrogen in thermal steel transformation processes (reheating and heat treatment furnaces). HYDREAMS has nine European partners and has received a grant from the European RFCS fund. Using laboratory tests and industrial demonstrators, this project, which started in April 2023 and ends in October 2027, will verify that hydrogen combustion will have no negative impact on processes and products. The next step is to roll out this new solution to all systems for which direct electrification is not a compatible option. This is the purpose of this MoU with Lhyfe.

—Frédéric Perret, Director of Development at Ugitech


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