Rising demand for steel goes hand in hand with the need for sustainable production

Steel is indispensable in today's society, as it is used as a material in infrastructure, the automotive industry and architecture. Due to the increasing expansion of infrastructure and building construction, global demand for steel is expected to rise in the coming years. In terms of climate protection, steel production is a challenge, as the sector is responsible for around 8% of global final energy demand and 7% of CO2 emissions from the energy sector. The energy sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. The use of energy-efficient and carbon-free innovations is key to the technologies developed by SMS group.

Why hydrogen?

The use of hydrogen as an energy vector offers great potential for reducing fossil energy consumption and consequential greenhouse gas emissions in the steel industry in cases where the direct electrification of the process presents limits due to the high temperatures or power densities requested by the process. This is often the case of industrial reheating furnaces for steel.

When hydrogen is burned, no CO2 is produced. Compared with coal, crude oil and natural gas, this makes hydrogen an environmentally friendly alternative energy vector and a pillar of the green revolution for many specialized industrial applications. The SMS group combines the goals of climate-friendly steel production with its innovation principles and continuously develops hydrogen-based solutions for industrial applications.

Hydrogen replaces fossil fuels in reheating and heat-treatment furnaces

An important area of application for hydrogen in steel production concerns the reheating and heat-treatment furnaces field. Most reheating furnaces make use of direct flame burners having typically a rating from 500 to 3,000 kW. Based on the driving principle of offering hydrogen fueled, carbon-free and flameless burners for the industrial furnace world, the SMS ZeroFlame HY2 impresses with its flexibility, performances and (of course) environmental record. To optimize the sustainable production of existing steel manufacturing plants, the burner can also be used for retrofitting existing furnaces with installation solutions tailored by SMS group on the existing equipment to be upgraded. The burner can be operated with 100% natural gas as well as with 100% hydrogen - and all mixtures in between. This maintaining the ability to develop a long envelope of flame, a high turn-down ration and the ability to efficiently work in on-off or modulating regime: all characteristics necessary for the applications and the roles it is called to fulfill in a mature yet highly demanding industry. The dynamic of fluids that originates from the peculiar geometry and configuration of the burner creates a high turbulence dispersed combustion in full flameless regime, this results in very low emissions of nitrogen oxides, as low as 40 ppm at 3% O2 DFG.

The new burner SMS ZeroFlame HY2 is able to burn with all mix ratios of natural gas and hydrogen.

Key facts at a glance

  • The burner can be operated with 100% natural gas as well as with 100% hydrogen – and all blends in between
  • Very contained emissions of Nitrogen Oxydes, as low as 40 ppm at 3% O2
  • The burner reaches up to 5% more emissivity compared to a traditional natural gas burner
  • Compared to a traditional natural gas burner, the SMS ZeroFlame HY2 offers substantial CO2 reduction
  • The burner is available in power sizes from 500 kW to 3,000 kW