Hydrogen: an energy carrier for the future

The need for new energy sources has never been greater. Our society needs a sustainable system to replace fossil fuels and their CO2 emissions in the long term. With the National Hydrogen Strategy, Germany is creating a standardized framework governing future production, transport use, and utilization of hydrogen, and thus corresponding innovations and investments. Hydrogen is considered as the key element to replace fossil fuels in the long term.

The most common chemical element in the universe is clean and readily available. Produced with renewable energies, green hydrogen is a potentially CO2-free raw material that is gaining global importance. Whether as raw material for the industry, as fuel for fuel cells or as a synthetic energy carrier – the possible applications are diverse. The global business initiative Hydrogen Council, for example, estimates that the share of climate-neutral produced hydrogen in final energy demand will rise from the current 2 percent to 18 percent by 2025.

Emitting a lot brings the possibility for change.

At thyssenkrupp, we emitted 23 million tons of CO2 in 2019. This equals almost three percent of all German greenhouse gas emissions. More than Berlin has caused in the same period. However, emitting a lot brings the possibility of great change. Therefore, we are committed to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015: we want to reduce our emissions by 30% by 2030 and be fully climate-neutral by 2050.

The potential of hydrogen also plays a significant role at thyssenkrupp as we are in an extraordinary position as both consumer and producer of green hydrogen.

On the one hand, we make a significant contribution to building a green hydrogen economy. To this end, we are using our core expertise in alkaline water electrolysis and developing climate-neutral supply concepts for industrial applications. Altogether, we already have established ten gigawatt of installed capacity in the chemical industry.

On the other hand, thyssenkrupp provides conditions for climate-neutral steel production: we have set ourselves the goal of fundamentally transforming our steel production using hydrogen and on an entirely climate-neutral steel production by 2050.

Engineering

Emitting a lot brings the possibility for change.

At thyssenkrupp, we emitted 23 million tons of CO2 in 2019. This equals almost three percent of all German greenhouse gas emissions. More than Berlin has caused in the same period. However, emitting a lot brings the possibility of great change. Therefore, we are committed to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015: we want to reduce our emissions by 30% by 2023 and be fully climate-neutral by 2050.

The potential of hydrogen also plays a significant role at thyssenkrupp as we are in an extraordinary position as both consumer and producer of green hydrogen.

On the one hand, we make a significant contribution to building a green hydrogen economy. To this end, we are using our core expertise in alkaline water electrolysis and developing climate-neutral supply concepts for industrial applications. Altogether, we already have established ten gigawatt of installed capacity in the chemical industry.

On the other hand, thyssenkrupp provides conditions for climate-neutral steel production: we have set ourselves the goal of fundamentally transforming our steel production using hydrogen and on an entirely climate-neutral steel production by 2050.

Dr. Klaus Keysberg
Dr. Klaus Keysberg
“For thyssenkrupp, hydrogen is the pivotal technology for making our industry both sustainable and fit for the future.”

Dr. Klaus Keysberg

Chief Financial Officer at thyssenkrupp in an interview on the future of hydrogen

Wasserstoff

Occurrence

As the most common element in the universe, hydrogen can be obtained from a variety of substances. As the earth is covered by approximately two-thirds of water, hydrogen can be made available in large quantities. Thus, hydrogen has the potential to secure the energy supply for future generations.

Wasserstoff

Emissions

By gaining hydrogen through electrolysis, no carbon dioxide is produced in the process. If renewable energies are used in the production process as well, the entire process is emission-free. This makes green hydrogen an environmentally friendly energy carrier.

Wasserstoff

Transport

Hydrogen, as an energy carrier, is comparatively easy to transport. Similar to natural gas, hydrogen can be stored under high pressure or in liquid form and can be transported in tanks or via pipelines. Other storage options are still under development.

How we produce green hydrogen – the water electrolysis

Hydrogen, produced with renewable electricity by electrolysis, is vital for a successful energy transition and the achievement of international climate targets. On the one hand, hydrogen serves as an energy carrier and fuel. On the other hand, it also is a CO2-neutral raw material for the production of green chemicals. Ammonia and methanol, for example, can be used as energy carriers or storage.

“Water electrolysis is the pivotal technology for the decarbonization of the industrial sector. It is the only scaled technology for producing green hydrogen so far. Green resources are only economically feasible if they are both produced and used on an industrial-scale, as upscaling improves cost structures. thyssenkrupp’s water electrolysis offers the worldwide biggest standard modules, that can be combined easily up to multimegawatt and gigawatt installations.”
Wie wir Grünen Wasserstoff gewinnen – Die Wasserelektrolyse

Dr. Christoph Noeres

Head of Green Hydrogen at thyssenkrupp Udhe Chlorine Engineers

Jobs

Jobs in the field of hydrogen

Sustainable? Naturally! As both producer and consumer of green hydrogen, sustainability plays a significant role at thyssenkrupp. We are committed to contribute to building a green hydrogen economy and to provide conditions for climate-neutral steel production to enable a climate-neutral future.

You are keen on playing a crucial role in shaping the future at thyssenkrupp? Then take a look at our job board!

Current Projects

Water electrolysis

STEAG and thyssenkrupp Steel

500 megawatts water electrolysis, Duisburg, STEAG and thyssenkrupp Steel

Learn more
carbon2

Hydro-Québec

88 megawatts water electrolysis, Québec/Canada, for Hydro-Québec

Learn more
CF Industries

CF Industries

thyssenkrupp awarded green hydrogen plant by CF Industries

Learn more

How hydrogen helps to use CO2 - Carbon2Chem®

Our Carbon2Chem® project converts emissions from steel production into valuable chemical feedstock such as ammonia or methanol. The process is already being used successfully in the pilot plant on the edge of the Duisburg steel mill.

How hydrogen helps to avoid CO2 – the hydrogen path

In 2019, thyssenkrupp emitted 23 million tons of CO2. 95% of these emissions emerge in the process of steel production, which we will also need in the future for affordable cars, a functioning circular economy, as packaging material, and as a foundation for electric engines and wind power plants. Therefore, the application of hydrogen serves as a tool for reducing CO2 emissions. One ton of hydrogen saves 26 tons of CO2. The steel industry’s decarbonization is one of the biggest tools to accomplish the world’s and Germany’s climate targets.

The crucial next step: direct reduction – tkH2Steel

First, short-term CO2 emissions are made possible through the use of hydrogen in blast furnaces. However, the steel production’s basic conversion is essential to decarbonize the steel industry. The setup of direct reduction plants (DR plants) is a crucial change here.

Contact

News on Hydrogen

The water electrolysis Carbon2Chem The hydrogen path Contact Glossary

The so-called gray hydrogen is obtained from fossil fuels. During production, natural gas is converted into hydrogen and CO2 under heat. The resulting CO2 is then released unused into the atmosphere. This increases the greenhouse effect.

Blue hydrogen, like gray hydrogen, is produced from natural gas. However, the resulting CO2 is captured and stored. This means that the CO2 generated during hydrogen production is not released into the atmosphere. This makes blue hydrogen almost CO2-neutral in balance sheet terms.

Turquoise hydrogen is produced via the thermal cracking of methane. This process produces solid carbon instead of CO2.

Green hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water. If electricity from renewable energies is used for this process, the hydrogen is considered green.

In the production of red hydrogen, nuclear power is used for electrolysis.

Electrolysis is a process in which substances are split into their components using an electric current

In a water electrolysis process, water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen with the help of an electric current. If the electricity comes from renewable energies, hydrogen electrolysis is a key component for a climate-neutral industry.

Describes the ratio of product, resource or energy yield (output) to the energy supplied (input). The aim is to minimize losses caused by the conversion, transport and storage of energy through improved processes.

Energy balance refers to the total effort required to manufacture, operate and reuse, dispose of or recycle products. In this context, attention is paid on the one hand to energy consumption during production and on the other hand to the resources and energy required for production and disposal.

Energy storage systems are used to store energy that is available but not currently required. The energy is often converted into other forms of energy, such as chemical energy. If required, this can be converted back into the desired form at a later time.

Energy storage systems are used particularly frequently with renewable energies. On particularly sunny or windy days, excess electricity can be stored.

Renewable energies are energy sources that are renewed by natural processes and are thus available in practically inexhaustible quantities or are renewed relatively quickly. Renewable energy includes hydropower, solar energy and wind energy.

In direct reduction, iron ore is reduced with the help of gas. Iron ore is an iron-oxygen compound, i.e. an iron oxide. The heart of direct reduction is the shaft furnace, which is filled with iron ore. The solid product is also called "sponge iron".

Processes or products are described as climate-neutral if they have no impact on climate change. This means that in their creation they are not associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change because they prevent heat from the earth from radiating into space. Greenhouse gases include CO2, but also methane and nitrous oxide.

Fossil fuels were created in geological prehistory from decomposition products of dead plants and animals. These include lignite, hard coal, peat, natural gas and petroleum.