HomeNews‘Growing with Green Steel' is a major step towards a sustainable Dutch steel sector

‘Growing with Green Steel' is a major step towards a sustainable Dutch steel sector

The ‘Growing with Green Steel’ programme – in which the University of Twente is participating for eight million euros - has obtained official approval for a grant of more than 100 million euros from the Nationaal Groeifonds (National Growth Fund). A consortium of 31 parties have developed this eight-year programme, which can now start thanks to the official approval.

‘Growing with Green Steel’ develops a series of technologies based on hydrogen, renewable energy and circular iron and steel production. Consequently, it focuses on transforming the entire steel cycle in the Netherlands, with the ultimate goal of a CO2-neutral steel sector in 2050. As well as the technologies needed to develop green steel, the researchers are looking at an effective route for the transition to a new ecosystem.

Two lines

The programme focuses on two lines of ‘greening’. The first line is oriented to making steel from iron ore in a CO2-neutral manner. To that end, one of the areas that the consortium is researching is the use of hydrogen as a reducing agent instead of coke (distilled coal) to turn iron ore into iron. The second line is to make the steel production completely circular. To achieve complete circularity the industry has to recycle all the steel. Even though steel is the world’s most recycled material, the majority of it is downcycled. The recycled steel does not have the same high quality as steel based on iron ore.

Technical developments

According to the Portfolio Holder Research at the Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET), Ton van den Boogaard, considerable technical developments are still needed before we can produce green steel. He says: “Each part of the process will have to be developed again. We are going to make pellets – small balls of iron ore – for the new furnaces, but the properties of the new steel will also differ from those of the current steel. To take account of the varying properties, the researchers are going to develop new sensors and algorithms.”

Prof. Ton van den Boogaard

Each part of the process will have to be developed again. 

Prof. Ton van den Boogaard

Intermediate marketplace

Researchers from the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) focus principally on the long-term perspective. The transition to a new circular steel ecosystem involves many challenges. “The organisations are genuinely going to get a different role within the new ecosystem; it’s essential to develop an effective route that allows us to take account of the numerous ways in which the future can unfold”, says researcher Erwin Hofman. The new steel ecosystem has to be based on a platform that functions as an intermediate marketplace for the supply of and demand for products, by-products and end-of-life products. By linking them together efficiently we can work towards a completely circular steel ecosystem.

Dr.ir. Erwin Hofman

The organisations are genuinely going to get a different role within the new ecosystem.

Dr.ir. Erwin Hofman

More information

Researchers from the Faculties of ET and BMS of the University of Twente are taking part in this National Growth Fund project. UT researchers involved are Dr Erwin Hofman, Dr Niels Pulles (both Faculty of BMS), Prof Stefan Luding, Prof. Ton van den Boogaard, Prof. Bojana Rosic, Dr Ton Bor, Dr Semih Perdahcioglu (all Faculty of ET) and Maaike Slot (FIP-AM@UT). The faculties will receive around eight million euros.

For more information: www.groeienmetgroenstaal.nl

This programme is financed partially by the National Growth Fund.

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
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