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August, 1st 2021

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JUN 21
13:25

Russia’s green steelmaking ambition requires time: Severstal’s Pavlov

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The hydrogen market in Russia will probably be established by 2030, but everything will depend on production costs, Severstal head of decarbonisation projects Ilya Pavlov says in an interview with Kallanish.

“The major task for companies that want do develop and produce this kind of fossil-free fuel, as well as for steel output, is the capacity and amount, because demand will increase significantly,” he notes. “Future projects will need large amounts of hydrogen; for example, one direct reduced iron plant with a capacity of 1 million tonnes/year will need a 500MW electrolysis plant. This is gigantic power, which is not available right now.”

“However, we are optimistic due to a large number of these kinds of projects, especially in Europe, but this is a new production platform and will need 10-20 years to reach high levels of hydrogen output,” Pavlov observes. “The global goal is to reach zero carbon and by 2050 this technology will probably have a leading role.”

Although around 80 million tonnes/year of green hydrogen-based steel could conceivably be produced globally by 2030, “this will be just a drop in the ocean, especially for the needs of the steel industry,” he foresees. “However, step by step this will improve significantly.”

Russia’s goal to occupy 20% of the hydrogen market and produce 1-2 million tonnes/year in a base case scenario, or even reach up to 7m t/y in 2035, is an optimistic ambition. The country has huge reserves of natural gas that can be used to produce hydrogen. “For now, Russia has no big plans for the use of electrolysers, but this will improve in the future,” Pavlov observes.

Earlier this month Severstal and Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, Novatek, signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop hydrogen, alternative energy, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction technologies (see Kallanish passim). The parties will consider launching a joint pilot project for the production of blue hydrogen from natural gas, using carbon capture CO2 and storage technology.

The companies intend to jointly develop the capabilities, necessary standards and engineering solutions for the production and supply of hydrogen transportation pipelines, turbines, and hydrogen storage systems and transport tanks. Disruptive technology is needed to make hydrogen a viable fuel for steelmaking, given its current prohibitively high cost. The cost of low-carbon hydrogen should be $1.5/kg or cheaper, according to Severstal.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria