| Corporate & markets

Low carbon emissions steel strip: Salzgitter AG and Waelzholz sign partnering agreement

Salzgitter AG and the Waelzholz Group have concluded a partnering agreement regarding the joint further development and supplying of low carbon emissions steel strip, initially until 2028. The two companies are seeking to jointly play a leading part in the process of transforming the steel industry in the direction of decarbonization.

The partners are intensifying their decades-long close collaboration with this partnering agreement covering the supplying of steel strip with a reduced carbon footprint.

The Salzgitter Group’s Head of Steel Production, Ulrich Grethe, explains: “We are thrilled to be taking this important step in the direction of climate protection together. In collaboration with Waelzholz, we will develop and produce an ever broader portfolio of low-carbon steel grades. With this partnering agreement, we are also confirming our position as pioneers in the emerging markets for green steel.”

Dr. Matthias Gierse, Managing Director Sales and Procurement of the Waelzholz Group, explains: “The conclusion of this partnering agreement is another step in the Waelzholz strategy of living up to our responsibilities regarding sustainability. We are also seeing significant demand from our customers for steel materials that cause as few carbon emissions as possible during their production. Our experience in metallurgical further processing can be reflected quickly and in detail in our intensive technological dialogue with Salzgitter. This will allow low-carbon steel grades that live up to our joint high-quality standards to be swiftly optimized for mass production.”

Signing of the contract in Salzgitter, Germany. The partners on the factory premises of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH: Friedrich Ellebrecht (Salzgitter Group), Dr. Matthias Gierse (Waelzholz), Ulrich Grethe (Salzgitter Group), Marcus Englberger (Waelzholz), Martin Scharf (Salzgitter Group), Markus Schmidt (Waelzholz) (from left)

Salzgitter AG produces the low-carbon steel grades on a special electric furnace route which, depending on the product, can currently reduce carbon emissions by approximately 71 percent in comparison to a conventional blast furnace route. Dr. Gierse: “In summer 2021, we were Salzgitter AG’s first customer to be supplied with steel strip from this production route. We have since jointly expanded the range of grades, thereby catering to the needs of many customers and end consumers.”

The largest share of the carbon footprint of cold rolled steel strip as produced by Waelzholz occurs early on at the stage of raw material production. This is why reductions at the steel production stage are, overall, so important.

Production of CO2-reduced steel by means of a direct reduction process using hydrogen

To further significantly reduce carbon emissions in steel production, Salzgitter AG is gradually switching its production to a hydrogen-based route as part of the SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) transformation program. In contrast to the method involving blast furnaces used to date, the carbon previously needed for steel production is replaced by hydrogen and green electricity. Salzgitter AG plans to use this method to gradually reduce carbon emissions in steel production to less than five percent of the original emissions.