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Steel ministry engages consultant to explore use of green hydrogen in manufacturing: Media Report

The steel ministry has engaged an internal consultancy to explore the application of green hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron (DRI) and blast furnaces, reported Moneycontrol when asked about its decarbonization plans for the sector.

Iron and steel manufacturing is highly emissions-intensive, and reducing its carbon footprint is crucial to the government’s ambitious net zero target.

The ministry stated in an email on June 5 that “the Ministry of Steel has designated MECON as the Scheme Implementing Agency (SIA) for the scheme. MECON has prepared the draft RFP, which is currently under review by the Ministry of Steel.”

MECON, operating under the steel ministry, offers various services, primarily in engineering, consultancy, and project management across different sectors.

The ministry’s communication referred to the government’s pilot scheme for green hydrogen.

Several months ago, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy issued guidelines for green hydrogen pilots in the steel sector. The pilots, to be implemented through the steel ministry, received a budgetary allocation of Rs. 455 crore until FY 2029-30.

Under the scheme, financial assistance will be provided to promote three approaches to hydrogen utilization in iron and steel production.

These approaches include gradually replacing natural gas with hydrogen in vertical shaft-based DRI, injecting hydrogen into blast furnaces to reduce coal and coke consumption, and piloting DRI production using 100 percent hydrogen in a consortium model.

The direct reduced iron (DRI) process involves producing iron without melting the ore, instead reducing iron ore in its solid state using reducing gases, making it less carbon-intensive.

In 2023, the Ministry of Renewable Energy launched the National Green Hydrogen Mission to position India as a global hub for the production, use, and export of Green Hydrogen and its derivatives.

“This is a government priority project aimed at decarbonizing the iron and steel sector,” the ministry emphasized.

To date, the ministry has established 14 task forces on various aspects of environmentally friendly steel production, addressing factors such as raw materials, technology, and policy frameworks.

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