Should I have, I suppose I would be too busy spending my money to be posting. Alas, my want of inventiveness consigns me to a pleb existence. I could suggest recycling, but that would hardly be original. Steel production may present as another demand of the human population which leaves an intractable footprint on the planet.
Who knows, hydrogen fired steel production might find some limited niche in the mix. Note that the steel delivery is to Volvo which is a high profile and value usage. Sweden’s total steel production is 4.4 million metric tons. China produces 1064 million metric tons, more than 10 times its nearest competitor India, most of which will be destined for anonymous price sensitive commodities such as sheet metal, L and J bar, rebar, H beam, and piping. At present, all of that is produced with metallurgical coal.
Sometime in the future, an enlightened China may mandate hydrogen production of steel under sparkling blue skies, all the issues with generating and transporting hydrogen be solved, and we warp drive around the cosmos and beam to wherever we wish. But at present, we are hundreds of electrolysis plants and millions of gigawatts of renewable electricity removed from that vision, and China will not be dictated to.
Efficiency of electrolysis is typically around 75-80% at the electrode, and that does not include electrical rectification and water pre-treatment and other plant sinks. Unless the hydrogen is used on site, the hydrogen will require transportation, which means compression to liquid, and now you are close to spending one joule of electricity for half a joule of heat at the point of combustion. Given the expense, I am not seeing a disruptive technology in the HYBRIT release.
Hydrogen has been around forever, and the Hindenburg notwithstanding, there has always been a devoted effort to utilize its potential as a fuel. Back when I was in school, we were assured by confident fuel cell companies that all vehicles on the road would be fuel cell energized long before now. That the economy is not already based on it hasn’t been the outcome of some negative attitude, no can do pessimism, or a gulag reserved for believers. Hydrogen is a delight to engineering firms because designing around it yields so many billable hours, and suppliers love the expensive exotic alloys and coatings required to contain it. Producing the solar and wind turbine raw materials, installing energy farms, and building the hydrogen plants will themselves constitute a contribution to the anthroforming of Earth.
So should Sweden produce its green steel? Sure, why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It is only when I see giddy vanity greenwashing which trivializes and sweeps past the inherent gocha’s that I put my Debbie Downer on.