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(from left to right) Sandrina Sieverdingbeck, Managing Director of DEUMU (Deutsche Erz- und Metall-Union GmbH); Holger Kreetz, Uniper SE COO; Gunnar Groebler, Salzgitter AG CEO; Christian Stuckmann, Uniper SE VP Business Development Hydrogen
© Salzgitter AG

Salzgitter AG and Uniper SE: Preliminary agreement for the delivery and acceptance of green hydrogen

Autor: Charlotte Lange

Datum: 30. Apr. 2024

Salzgitter AG and Uniper SE have signed a preliminary agreement for the delivery and purchase of green hydrogen. This is to be produced in the large-scale electrolysis plant planned by Uniper, which is scheduled to go into operation in Wilhelmshaven in 2028.

The green hydrogen is required for the SALCOS® – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking program and will be used in the direct reduction plant under construction in Salzgitter to produce almost CO2-neutral steel. Both companies want to make a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of the German steel industry.

Framework conditions for cooperation

The subject of the preliminary contract is, among other things, the technical and commercial framework conditions for hydrogen delivery. Depending on the availability of the German H2 core network or a specific pipeline route from Wilhelmshaven to Salzgitter, Uniper could deliver up to 20,000 tons of certified green hydrogen to Salzgitter annually from 2028 at the earliest. These will be produced using renewable energies in the 200 MW electrolysis plant that Uniper wants to build on the site of the former hard coal power plant in Wilhelmshaven. This is a first step towards external hydrogen supply for SALCOS®, which in its first stage has a hydrogen requirement of up to 150,000 tons per year. A pipeline connection from Wilhelmshaven to Salzgitter is absolutely necessary and must be created as quickly as possible. Here, the pipeline operators and political decision-makers, together with Salzgitter AG and Uniper SE, urgently need to agree on an accelerated timetable.

Gunnar Groebler, CEO of Salzgitter AG: “With SALCOS® we are a pioneer in the decarbonization of the basic materials industry. When implementing the program, we relied on a network of strong partners right from the start. The production and availability of green hydrogen is a central success criterion for SALCOS®. That’s why this agreement with Uniper is another important step on our path to green steel. The energy infrastructure and the associated pipeline networks must now be expanded with emphasis.”

Good transport conditions

Due to good access to renewable energies, especially from the offshore wind farms in the North Sea, the early connection to the German hydrogen pipeline system and the planned hydrogen storage in northern Germany, Wilhelmshaven is the ideal location for Uniper’s Green Wilhelmshaven projects. The plan is to expand electrolysis to a capacity of 1 GW, which will enable hydrogen production of 100,000 tons per year.

In addition, Uniper will build a terminal in Wilhelmshaven for the import of green ammonia by ship with an output of at least 300,000 tons of H2, which can be converted into hydrogen and also fed into the German core network.

Holger Kreetz, COO of Uniper SE: “At Uniper, we pursue the clear goal of supporting companies in decarbonizing their production processes. Green hydrogen plays a crucial role here – especially in energy-intensive industries such as the steel industry. We look forward to working with Salzgitter AG and helping to reduce Salzgitter AG’s emissions. Such partnerships show the added value of our Energy Transformation Hub Northwest, strengthen the region’s role as an energy hub for the future and make a valuable contribution to the joint achievement of climate goals in Germany.”

The Salzgitter Group is pursuing a Carbon Direct Avoidance strategy and will significantly reduce its CO2 footprint. To this end, in the SALCOS® program, traditional coal-based steel production via the blast furnace route is gradually being converted to direct reduction technology (DRI production with downstream EAF), which will initially primarily use natural gas and increasingly green hydrogen as reducing agents. By concluding a preliminary contract with Uniper, the first step is prepared.


(Source: Salzgitter AG)