GravitHy, composed of EIT InnoEnergy, Engie New Ventures, Plug, FORVIA, GROUPE IDEC, plans to support the demand for zero-carbon steel, by using green hydrogen to produce two million tonnes of direct reduced iron (DRI) annually from 2027.

The company has said it is looking to build its first plant in Fos sur Mer, France, from 2024, with €2.2bn ($2.3bn) of investment, where the produced DRI is anticipated to be used either on-site as feedstock for green steel or traded globally as hot-briquetted iron (HBI).

It is hoped the venture will contribute to Europe’s ‘Fit for 55’ package which aims to decarbonise hard-to-abate industries, with the steel sector responsible of 8% of global energy demand, making it one of the biggest carbon emitting industries, according to GravitHy.

Read more: Aims for the EU’s “Fit for 55” package will be met through deployment of clean hydrogen

Karine Vernier, Consortium Leader of GravitHy, commented, “There is considerable appetite to transform energy-intensive industries in France, with the steel sector high on the agenda. GravitHy will be a vital component in the French government’s proposed steel roadmap and its ambitions to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

“It’s time to make a step-change in technology, to replace old blast furnaces with DRIs produced from green and low-carbon hydrogen and combined with electric arc furnaces.

“Together, with our partners, we are committed to tackling this challenge by being an enabler of industrial value chains and clean tech innovation. With GravitHy’s first plant, we will be positioned in a location with easy access to European trade markets, so we can increase the security of steel supply on the continent.”

H2 view understands, EIT InnoEnergy will provide its business acceleration service to GravitHy through its European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Centre (EGHAC), which aims to serve as an enable of industrial value chains and clean tech innovation.

In addition to contributing to the wider EU climate goals, the project has received support from the French Government as the nation strives towards climate neutrality.

Agnés Pannier-Runacher, French Minister for Energy Transition, said, “We must make our country the first major nation to transition completely from fossil fuels. For this, we need our industry to develop the innovative decarbonisation solutions required for today and tomorrow.

“GravitHy is an emblematic initiative that responds to these challenges which will contribute to and support the vital decarbonisation of the steel sector. This large-scale industrial project will also contribute to structuring our national decarbonised hydrogen production sector.”

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, added, “Given the geopolitical, energy and industrial situation we are experiencing, Europe has a strategic interest in developing a thriving hydrogen economy.

“The European Commission is working to establish a regulatory and financial framework conducive to the emergence of European value chains that will ensure European industrial leadership in this field. The GravitHy project is an important milestone and will contribute to our European goal of producing 10 million tonnes of clean hydrogen by 2030.”

Read more: REPowerEU: €34-49bn needed for hydrogen infrastructure


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