Steuler Claim

Transformation of the steel industry: Steuler is in the centre of SALCOS instead of just being there


The Höhr-Grenzhausen-based Steuler Group produces industrial linings, including refractory linings for a variety of industrial sectors. Steuler has now received an order for the refractory lining of a so-called direct reduction plant for a lighthouse project in the transformation of the global steel industry towards climate-neutral steel production.

For years, the steel manufacturer Salzgitter AG has been working on the issue of how hydrogen can be used to produce almost climate-neutral steel using the program name SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking). The concept was developed in 2015 and comprises the individual steps for producing green steel. It includes in-house hydrogen production and the conversion of steel production from blast furnaces to direct reduction, initially using natural gas and later hydrogen. With a total switch to direct reduction plants, hydrogen can completely replace the carbon previously required for steel production. This reduces the CO2 emissions caused by steel production by over 95%. The sustainable SALCOS concept sets an example for the entire industry.

The heart of the pioneering program, which is funded with one billion euros, is the direct reduction plant, in which up to 1.2 million tons of cast iron will be produced annually at temperatures of over 1000° C in a climate-neutral process.

The contract for the complete refractory lining of this plant has now been placed with the Steuler Group, which positioned itself as the technology partner in this sector many years ago. "We are very proud to be able to contribute to the decarbonization of the industry this way," says Ulf Frohneberg, Head of the Refractory Division at Steuler. "This project serves as a benchmark for other similar projects in the global steel industry."

Steuler is supplying a total of more than two thousand tons of refractory material to Salzgitter for this new plant. The materials required for this were developed at Steuler in Höhr-Grenzhausen and are constantly being improved in a custom-built, globally unique testing facility. "With this thermal analysis, we are able to precisely simulate the process conditions of our customers and further develop our materials for specific applications using in-situ analysis," reports Jens Sperber, Technical Manager of the Refractory Production.  "This applies both to the prevailing gas mixtures of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane in the process, as well as to the process temperatures and pressures." Just last October, Steuler also commissioned a new high-temperature tunnel kiln for the production of these materials (we reported) and sees itself as well positioned for the future with this technology.


Animation of the SALCOS direct reduction plant. In the background is the Salzgitter AG steel plant. (Animation: Salzgitter AG)