thyssenkrupp greenlights construction of €2 billion hydrogen-powered direct reduction plant for low-carbon steel

The management board of thyssenkrupp AG has released the corresponding capital resources for the construction of the first direct reduction (DR) plant at its site in Duisburg. The supervisory board of thyssenkrupp AG supports this decision. The major project remains subject to public funding.

The plant, with a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, will avoid the emission of 3.5 million tonnes of CO2. The construction will require an investment of more than 2 billion euros.


thyssenkrupp will build a €2 billion hydrogen direct reduction plant at its Duisberg site. The capacity will be 2.5 million metric tons.

Unlocking this huge investment comes amid the company’s transformation, in what is also an extremely challenging environment for all. We thus underline our claim to make a significant and above all rapid contribution to green transformation, including with regard to steel. This is a new milestone for our team at Steel Europe, for our partners and for the Ruhr region. In this region, we have everything needed for a successful green transformation. This is why the Ruhr region plays a leading role in energy recovery. We are firmly convinced of this, and this is also confirmed by this investment, which heralds a new era for steel production in the Ruhr area.

—Martina Merz, CEO of thyssenkrupp AG

As part of its tkH2Steel transformation project, coal-fired blast furnaces will be replaced by hydrogen direct reduction plants. Unlike a conventional blast furnace, DR plants do not produce hot metal, but solid sponge iron (Direct Reduced Iron, DRI). The DRI must then be melted into a hot metal-like product so that it can be made into high-grade steel.

Together with plant manufacturers, thyssenkrupp Steel is developing an electric melting unit, which is combined with the DR plant. Direct reduction plants with melting units, much like a blast furnace, continuously produce a liquid product comparable to conventionally produced pig iron.


As a result, new DR and smelting facilities can be seamlessly integrated into the existing metallurgical plant. The existing and proven processes in the BOF (Basic Oxygen Four) melting workshops in Duisburg can be maintained. The liquid product is processed there into proven steel grades. Thus, the Duisburg steelworks continues to boil steel as in the past, but with hydrogen and green energy instead of coal. The feasibility, scalability and innovativeness of this concept were confirmed by scientists from the RWTH University of Aachen in a study commissioned by thyssenkrupp Steel in early 2021.

The first direct reduction plant with downstream melters will provide our customers with over two million tonnes of low CO2 of premium steel per year for the foreseeable future, far more than expected. We are thus reaffirming our ambition to play a leading role in the competition for the green steel markets of tomorrow and to support our customers in achieving their decarbonization objectives. In addition, we assume our social responsibility and will already reduce CO2 emissions from our production by just under 20% initially. This already accounts for 5% of the Ruhr region’s greenhouse gas emissions. Our tkH2Steel transformation project is the key to this.

—Bernhard Osburg, Chairman of the Board of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG

With its capacity of 2.5 million tonnes of direct reduced iron, the first plant will be larger than initially planned. In this way, thyssenkrupp is accelerating the start of low-carbon steel production. At the same time, the growing demand for climate-friendly steel is being taken into account and the rise of the hydrogen economy is accelerating.

In the new plant concept, the entire premium product portfolio can thus be produced with low CO content2 broadcasts without compromising on quality.

With the increased plant capacity, thyssenkrupp Steel has also raised its climate targets significantly.

By 2030, we expect around five million tonnes of low-CO gas2 steel, which will deliver CO2 savings of more than 30%. The now imminent construction of one of the largest hydrogen direct reduction plants planned to date will also generate innovation and employment in the Ruhr area and beyond. The clever combination with newly developed melting units can serve as a model for many other decarbonization projects in the steel industry worldwide. In order to continue our transformation without delay, we plan to award the contract in the fall and we are already making the appropriate preparations.

—Chief Technology Officer Arnd Köfler