In Germany, the industrial sector is the second-highest greenhouse gas emissions contributor after the energy sector. Industrial processes, e.g., in steel, cement, or aluminum industry, which currently utilize coal, coke, or graphite as reducing agents, are difficult to decarbonize. The technological gap and the long-term challenges lie in the realization of cost-effective and energy-efficient production based on alternative reducing agents (CO2-neutral hydrogen and CO2-neutral carbon).
CO2-reduction in steelmaking - a hot topic of our research
Industrial CO2 emissions can be divided into two groups:
Process-related CO2 emissions from the use of carbon-containing energy sources and other raw materials
Direct energy-related CO2-emissions from the use of fuels for the provision of energy, e.g., process heat or electricity (in industrial power plants) and indirect energy-related CO2- emissions from the upstream generation of the electricity used at the industrial site.
In general, these various sources of CO2-emissions require sector-specific approaches and measures for their reduction.
Therefore, the department Low Carbon Reducing Agents investigates options to avoid process-related CO2 emissions by adapting existing technologies as well as by substituting the emission-causing raw materials. Separation and subsequent use of CO2 (Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU)) are examined in cases where CO2-emissions cannot be avoided.
In addition, the research results of the other two departments SVD and HTP of the Institute are incorporated into process development and adaptation. A significant reduction of energy-related CO2 emissions can be achieved by improving the efficiency of energy conversion and utilization, as well as by increasing the fraction of renewable energies used.
Research and development topics of the department Low Carbon Reducing Agents currently comprise:
Decarbonization of steel production using renewable “green” hydrogen as a reducing agent
CFD simulations to evaluate the achievable conversion rates with alternative reducing agents
Production of synthetic solid reducing agents from biomass, including CO2-neutral high-temperature heat from renewable electricity
Experimental verification at the component level on a laboratory scale
Emission reduction through the utilization of CO2 from coal-fired power plants for the production of synthesis gas, followed by further process steps yielding synthetic fuels and chemical base materials
Comparative techno-economic analysis of the decarbonization of industrial processes using gaseous and solid reducing agents
These topics are the department's challenges to assist energy-intensive industries in their quest for sustainable production and to provide suitable low-CO2 key-technologies as part of the energy transition.
Iron making with syngas: the development of detailed heterogeneous mechanisms (left) and their integration into a multiphase CFD environment (right) allows for a better understanding of the so-called direct reduction process and its subsequent optimization.
Prof. Dr. Uwe Riedel
Institute of Low-Carbon Industrial Processes
Mandauhöfe, Haus 9
Äußere Oybiner Straße 14/16
Tel.: +49 355 355645 01