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Linde to build $150m ASU for world’s first large-scale green steel plant

Linde revealed today that it will invest $150m into an on-site air separation unit (ASU) in Boden, northern Sweden, to supply industrial gases to the world’s first large-scale green steel production plant.

The ASU will generate oxygen, nitrogen and argon for H2 Green Steel’s integrated plant, which will use the latest technology to reduce carbon emissions by up to 95% compared to traditional steelmaking.

The industry is so carbon-intensive mainly due to the blast furnace process, which involves smelting iron ore with coal-derive coke at high temperatures, releasing CO2 emissions.

“We are moving at full speed on the journey to accelerate the decarbonisation of the steel industry through the construction of our plant in Boden,” said Maria Persson Gulda, CTO at H2 Green Steel.

“Air separation is an important part of this work, providing gases required in various stages of the steelmaking processes.”

The deal marks the latest in a series of major partnerships for H2 Green Steel, who aim to decarbonise steel – a sector responsible for around 8% of global emissions.

Last year, the company signed a deal with Porsche to use CO2-reduced steel in its sports cars from 2026. This was followed by a seven-year deal with Purmo Group and a €130m ($138.6m) deal with Kirchhoff Automotive for near-zero emissions steel supply.

“We have come this far by working in strong partnerships. Linde’s technology combined with its operational experience both globally and in Sweden, made it a natural choice for us,” added Gulda.

In addition to the supply of industrial gases, Linde Engineering has been awarded an engineering a procurement contract for a HIPURE pressure swing adsorption unit at the Boden plant.

This will help to recover and purify hydrogen from the top gas of the direct reduction iron furnace, minimising hydrogen losses and boosting efficiency of steel production.

“Linde is committed to supporting industrial decarbonisation through high-quality projects that utilise our complementary combination of assets, technology and knowledge,” said Armando Botello, President Regions UK & Ireland and Europe North, Linde.

Hydrogen for green steel

Blast furnace steel production typically produces two metric tonnes of CO2 per metric tonne of crude steel. DRI with hydrogen brings this below 0.5 metric tonnes of CO2 per metric tonne, according to S&P Global.

The EU aims to cut emissions by 43% in Emissions Trading System (ETS) sectors like steel by 2030. Free ETS allowances for steelmakers end from 2026 to 2030, leading to higher costs.

This shift coincides with the adoption of new technologies, likely resulting in increased consumer costs due to green steel premiums.

At current price levels, replacing coal with hydrogen would drive up the price of a tonne of steel by about one third, according to the European Parliament.

Producing the amount of hydrogen needed to fully decarbonise the steel industry would require a 20% increase in electricity production.

Although direct emissions in the H2-DRI-EAF (electric arc furnace) route may be reduced almost to zero, the final carbon footprint of this approach relies on the carbon intensity of electricity used.

For the process to be beneficial in terms of net greenhouse gas emissions, the maximum carbon intensity of electricity used cannot exceed 513g of CO2 per kilowatt hour, said industry group Hydrogen Europe.

“According to our estimates, in order for the project to achieve breakeven, the hydrogen delivery price would have to be below €3/kg ($3.20/kg) – in the ‘high prices’ scenario and below €1.5/kg ($1.60/kg) – in the ‘adjusted prices’ scenario,” Hydrogen Europe wrote in a report. “The estimated CO2 breakeven price is €140/mt ($149/mt) for both price scenarios.

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