Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has joined a 12-member consortium to work on cutting emissions by using hydrogen in their industrial processes.
ArcelorMittal, the world's top steelmaker, and Swedish utility Vattenfall have teamed up with Shell, Airbus, Mitsubishi and other heavyweights to slash the production of greenhouse gases by turning to hydrogen.
European steelmakers are among the biggest global polluters and are under intense pressure to cut CO2 while maintaining profitability amid fierce competition, mainly from China.
One focus of the consortium, which also includes logistics group Hamburger Hafen und Logistik, will be the production of carbon-neutral steel in the port city of Hamburg.
"Within the Hamburg hydrogen co-operation, we will be able to save one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually (up to 2030)," said Uwe Braun, who heads ArcelorMittals's business in Germany's second-largest city.
"We have a set-up here where we can become a pioneer of climate neutral steel," he said.
Hydrogen is considered a green fuel when electricity from renewable energy sources is used in its production.
As part of the plan, Vattenfall will idle its Moorburg coal-to-power plant and convert the site to green hydrogen made from renewables while steelmaker ArcelorMittal will be one of its anchor consumers.
"For Airbus, hydrogen is a key technology for the aviation industry of the future. This is not only about the propulsion of aircraft, but also about the infrastructure of our production site," said Andre Walter, Head of Airbus Commercial, Germany
Green hydrogen's initial role will be to replace ‘grey’ hydrogen in industry, which is produced from natural gas, but its applications go far beyond that as it can be used in energy provision for heating and mobility.
Green hydrogen is two to three times more expensive than grey hydrogen but, with subsidises, could become competitive within 10-12 years, said Oliver Weinmann, managing director, Vattenfall Europe Innovation.
- Reporting by Reuters