For the first time thyssenkrupp has
produced ammonia from steel mill gases, marking the first time
in the world that steel mill gases, including the CO2 they contain,
have been converted into ammonia.
The production represents a further milestone in the Carbon2Chem
project, which is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of
Education and Research (BMBF) to the tune of around €60 million
($69 million). In September 2018, thyssenkrupp succeeded for the
first time in producing methanol from steel mill gases.
Our Carbon2Chem concept has shown that it is possible to use
steel mill gases for the production of various chemicals and thus
achieve a circular carbon economy. Our goal is the large-scale
industrial use of the technology.—Reinhold Achatz, head of technology at thyssenkrupp
Carbon2Chem is a major project coordinated by thyssenkrupp
together with institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Max
Planck Society and involving 15 other partners from research and
industry. Implemented on an industrial scale, the technology could
make around 20 million tons of the annual CO2 emissions of the
German steel industry commercially utilizable.
Steel mill gas comprises 44% nitrogen, 23% carbon monoxide, 21%
carbon dioxide, 10% hydrogen and 2% methane. It is therefore
suitable for the production of carbon- and hydrogen-containing
synthesis gas, a precursor for various chemicals. Examples include
plastics and higher alcohols as well as ammonia and methanol.
(Methanol production requires additional hydrogen, which
thyssenkrupp is providing via electrolysis.)
In the chemical industry, synthesis gases have so far been
obtained from fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal. Carbon2Chem
not only converts the CO2 contained in the steel mill emissions but
also saves the CO2 arising when synthesis gas is produced from
fossil carbon sources.
The first ammonia production took place in the Carbon2Chem
technical center in Duisburg, a pilot plant in which laboratory
results are validated under practical industrial conditions using
gases from regular steel mill operation. This work forms the basis
for transferring the technology to industrial scale. thyssenkrupp
has invested €33.8 million in the pilot plant. On top of this
comes €8.5 million euros from the BMBF funding for equipment and
There is interest in Carbon2Chem outside Europe. The solution
developed in Duisburg could be immediately transferred to over 50
steel mills worldwide. In addition, thyssenkrupp is already holding
talks with interested parties from various regions on how the
technology could be applied to other CO2-intensive industries.
Chemie Ingenieur Technik: Vol 90, No 10 (emphasis on
Source: FS – Transport 2
thyssenkrupp produces ammonia from steel mill gases; Carbon2Chem