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Thyssenkrupp makes methanol from steel mill gases for the first time

Steel and smelting works produce large quantities of process gases, so-called steel mill gases. They contain many valuable chemical elements, from which Thyssenkrupp is now winning back methanol.

07 Oct. 2018
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Thyssenkrupp makes methanol from steel mill gases for the first time (Photo: thyssenkrupp AG)

According to Thyssenkrupp , this is the first time in the world that gases from steel production have been chemically converted in this way. The practical test is part of the Carbon2Chem project, which the corporation is running in coordination with the Fraunhofer Institute and the Max Planck Institute. This is being supported by the Federal Ministry of Research with funding of around €60 million. As soon as the technology is introduced on a large scale, it should mean that around 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the German steel industry are recyclable in a cost-effective way every year.

Steel mill gases consist of carbon compounds, among them carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen and hydrogen. So-called synthesis gas can be produced from these compounds and can then furnish the basis for the production of various chemicals such as ammonia, polymers and even methanol. This also relieves the burden on the environment: not only is the environmentally harmful CO2 that escapes during steel production converted into a recycled material, so is the CO2 that until now has been created when producing synthesis gas from carbon carriers.

The procedure has now been tested in a pilot plant. The demand is there, according to Thyssenkrupp: Around the world there are around 50 steel works that could be considered for the Carbon2Chem project. Moreover, the process is applicable to other industries.