Greenhouse gas reduction and economic cost of technologies using green hydrogen in the steel industry

Wonjae Choi, Sanggyu Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the steel industry is one of the top priorities for mitigating climate change. Although hydrogen has been considered as a key element to accomplish this task, the effects of various hydrogen-using technologies in steel mills have not been analysed and compared to each other. This paper quantitatively analysed the greenhouse gas reduction in steel mills by the use of hydrogen produced from electrolysis with renewable electricity. The four following methods of using green hydrogen were proposed and analysed: 1) use of hydrogen directly in the hydrogen steelmaking process, 2) use of hydrogen to convert byproduct gases produced from steel mills into methanol, 3) use hydrogen to convert the byproduct gases into methane, and 4) sell hydrogen to the hydrogen station and use of oxygen, another product of electrolysis, to reduce the use of air separating unit in steel mills. Not only the greenhouse gas reduction benefits but also the economic cost of these four methods were evaluated. As those results can vary according to country, the economic cost and GHG reduction benefits were determined for the representative steel-producing countries of China, India, Japan, the United States, Russia, South Korea, and Germany. The economic cost was evaluated not only for the present (2020) but also for the future (∼2040) because these methods are more likely to be implemented in the future. Currently, in the representative steel-producing countries, Method 1 was analysed to have the largest GHG reduction among the four methods; but it also showed the largest cost because of its large capital expenditures and electricity cost. Method 2, which converts the byproduct gases into methanol, was shown to offer larger GHG reduction and smaller economic cost than Method 3, which converts the byproduct gases into methane. Comparing Methods 1 and 2, Method 2 offered smaller GHG reduction but a much smaller economic cost than Method 1. Although the cost of Method 4 is currently the smallest, the economic cost of Method 2 is predicted to become lower than that of Method 4 in the future, near 2030, because the future prices of hydrogen and the CO2 allowance are expected to decrease and increase, respectively. These results can be utilized when steelmaking country or steelmaking company make their decision on how to decrease the GHG emissions by using green hydrogen.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117569
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Hydrogen Energy Innovation Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science and ICT [MSIT]) ( NRF2019M3E6A1064287 ) and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education ( 2021R1F1A1063229 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Byproduct gas-to-chemicals
  • Economic analysis
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Hydrogen
  • Renewable electricity
  • Steelmaking


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