Normanton steel plant to develop use of carbon-free hydrogen from steelmaking sludges

The Materials Processing Institute, which runs a hi-tech steel plant in Normanton, is partnering with materials developer Nanomox to create a process capable of producing carbon-free hydrogen from steelmaking sludges.

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy through its Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme under the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the £173,000 feasibility study also seeks to extract valuable materials, including zinc, from the waste.

With 6.7 million tonnes of steelmaking sludge stockpiled in the UK and 90,000 tonnes generated annually, the institute notes that a breakthrough would deliver “widespread economic and environmental benefits”.

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Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “The Institute is excited to be working with Nanomox to develop and perfect a process that has the potential to bring huge environmental and commercial benefits to the steel sector.”

Pre-heat ladle, at the Materials Processing Institute's Normanton PlantPre-heat ladle, at the Materials Processing Institute's Normanton Plant
Pre-heat ladle, at the Materials Processing Institute's Normanton Plant

The steel industry is currently one of the largest contributoers to carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. The use of carbon-free ”green” hydrogen would allow for the phasing out of coke and other polluting fossil fuels that currently power furnaces and convert iron ore to iron metal.

The feasibility study is based at both Imperial College, London, and the Materials Processing Institute’s Teesside campus. It is envisaged the project will be scaled up into a two-year demonstration project, initially involving the Institute’s Normanton plant before transferring to an operational steelworks.

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