Driven by energy transition and climate change, the metal industries are undergoing a thorough transformation. Metal manufacturing and processing companies and the mechanical and system engineers active in the metallurgical industry are increasingly focusing on renewable energy and decarbonisation technologies. The goal is the same, the paths vary: Steel companies are approaching the transformation to carbon-free iron and steel production along different technological paths. All technologies for decarbonisation lead away from coal and the blast furnace, towards green electricity and hydrogen. New engineering technologies for direct reduction of iron ore using hydrogen, combined with proven and novel electrically powered smelting technologies are the solution.
For the primary production of aluminium, manufacturers are looking at hydropower in regions where water is abundant, and also delving into renewable energy sources like sun and wind. While aluminium produced with solar power is an opportunity above all for the sunny global south and especially the desert regions, in this country foundries and operators of wind power stations are researching the direct use of wind power to melt aluminium.
New sources of fuel are required for thermal treatment of metals. Coal, oil gas – the energy sources of the fossil era are at an end, with different periods of transition. The focus is on hydrogen produced with renewable energy and on green electricity. Digitalisation of processes is of key importance.