Hyundai Steel intends to build carbon-neutral steel lab by 2023

Hyundai Steel, a division of South Korean car giant Hyundai Motor Group, is prepared to begin research on hydrogen-based steelmaking when its new facility opens by the end of this year in South Chungcheong Province’s Dangjin Integrated Steelworks, some 90 kilometres southwest of Seoul.

The business started construction on the lab’s 680 square metres of flooring late last year. The development of hydrogen-fuelled steelmaking technologies and the examination of various forms of hydrogen produced by electrochemical and natural gas reforming processes will take place in the new structure.

Hyundai Steel will start empirical research on hydrogen-based steel by the end of this year, with an aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The company is developing technologies related to fluidised bed reduction reactors, which Korean steel giant POSCO Group is planning to use at its Pohang steel complex pilot facility from 2026.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy aims to complete the development of basic technologies for the reactors by 2025 with a 27 billion won ($20.7 million) investment and execute empirical studies on the production of 1 million tons of steel by 2030. The government also plans to alternate shaft furnaces across the country with 14 fluidised bed reduction reactors by 2050.

Hyundai Steel is creating an electric arc furnace that can melt raw materials and eliminate impurities in addition to the reactor studies. To reach its net zero objective, the business intends to connect the new furnace with steelmaking facilities powered by hydrogen.

According to the firm, Hyundai Steel will initially run the new facilities using hydrogen created by the electrochemical and natural gas reforming processes. This sort of hydrogen is less pure than green hydrogen and produces more carbon during synthesis, but it is more cost-effective.

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