Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Platts' "Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week"

We'll go with hydrogen in steelmaking because a trip down to the link-vault reveals a dozen links that we'll be visiting next month.

From S&P Global Platts, March 22:

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports and supply management are in the spotlight in this week's pick of energy and raw materials trends to watch. Plus, the UK's decarbonization drive, hydrogen in steelmaking, and developments in US natural gas and freight markets.

....3. EU shows enthusiasm for green hydrogen-based steel, but costs remain key

steelmaking pathways hydrogen

What's happening? Steel made from green hydrogen electrolysis, supplied by renewable power, with iron ore pellets remains far more costly than steel produced from the blast furnace route, with the difference over Eur100/mt more, according to the European Commission. Cash costs for producing direct reduction iron (DRI) via green hydrogen and DR-grade pellets have been far higher than natural gas-based DRI, according to estimates by S&P Global Platts. This is due to the volume of hydrogen needed as well as renewable power prices, electrolyzer efficiencies and capex, using S&P Global Platts PEM hydrogen assessment prices in the Netherlands. Recently some of the key input costs for traditional steelmaking pathways - iron ore, power and gas—have risen, in turn driving up the cost of pig iron and DRI for steel as shown in the chart.

What's next? The EU wants to help make green steel more viable with policies designed to help narrow current cost differences, with the market awaiting increases in electrolyzer efficiencies and renewables capacity. The EU is promoting green hydrogen import supplies through investments, including in Canada and Saudi Arabia, and plans to support the steel industry. The Commission plans to implement a EU carbon-based tax on steel product imports, and will increase the scope of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme....


Sweden has been working on getting the cost of hydrogen direct-reduction steel competitive but as the quick hit above notes, no one is there yet.
If interested Elsevier's ScienceDirect had a lucid overview last year:
Adopting hydrogen direct reduction for the Swedish steel industry: A technological innovation system (TIS) study