Conversion of industrial furnaces to hydrogen SCHLAGER Industrieofenbau GmbH
Conversion of industrial furnaces to hydrogen SCHLAGER Industrieofenbau GmbH

16. August 2023

Conversion of industrial furnaces to hydrogen

SCHLAGER Industrieofenbau GmbH supports on the way to CO2-free production. In the pilot project we successfully took over the modification of the hood furnace and the assembly of the innovative burner technology.

Hagen, June 6, 2023 – In May 2023, the BILSTEIN GROUP from Hagen-Hohenlimburg achieved a significant advance in the steel industry: the world’s first local CO2-neutral heat treatment of around 100 tons of cold-rolled strip was successfully carried out.

The BILSTEIN GROUP, a leading cold rolled strip manufacturer, has converted energy-intensive processes from natural gas to hydrogen. In cooperation with SCHLAGER Industrieofenbau GmbH, a complete hood furnace with eleven burners and 1,800 kW heat output was converted from natural gas to hydrogen without any loss of performance. The burner technology was decisively developed by Kueppers Solutions, a leading manufacturer of industrial burners, with the help of 3D printing. This technological advance is groundbreaking.

>>The commissioning of the first converted hood furnace, which was eagerly awaited on May 15 and 16, 2023, after two years of research and development work, was a complete success. “From the ignition of the burners to the end of the process, we did not burn a single gram of natural gas and achieved excellent process parameters. As a result, we were able to save around 3,700 kg of CO2 locally in this trial alone,” Christian Hagenkord, Head of Sustainability Projects and Energy Supply BILSTEIN GROUP, sums up. “Water vapor came out of the chimney instead of CO2.” This was also confirmed by the Gas- und Wärme-Institut Essen e.V. (GWI), which provided mwasurement support for the project. With, for example, 500,000 t of production volume per year, which the parent company BILSTEIN  manufactured before the pandemic, this results in a savings potential of approx. 25,000 t of CO2. By way of comparison, that is as much as around 2 300 people living in Germany consume each year, as the average CO₂-equivalent “footprint” per capita in this country is 10.8 t per year.<< This significant step was implemented in close cooperation with various partners, including SCHLAGER Industrieofenbau GmbH.

Burner 6 before conversion

Burner 6 after conversion

“Simply flip the appropriate switch: The hood furnace at the BILSTEIN plant that has been converted for test purposes can be operated dual-fired with both natural gas and hydrogen.”

The BILSTEIN GROUP’s long-term goal is to achieve completely CO2-neutral production by 2035, and more hood furnaces are being converted to dual burner technology to achieve this. The steel industry is one of the main sources of CO2 emissions. Projects like these are crucial to developing innovative and climate-friendly steels and improving the industry’s carbon footprint.

(Source: BILSTEIN GROUP/ 2023, Bildrechte © Markus Steur/ BILSTEIN GROUP)

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