Metalloinvest, one of the world’s leading iron ore and hot briquetted iron (HBI) manufacturers and suppliers and a producer of high-quality steel, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rosatom subsidiary Rusatom Overseas JSC and Air Liquide, one of the leading producers of industrial gases, aiming to explore the possibility of launching the joint production of low-carbon hydrogen.


Metalloinvest Director General Nazim Efendiev, Rusatom Overseas JSC President Evgeny Pakermanov and Air Liquide Russia Director General Marilene Turcotte signed the document on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.


The parties intend to evaluate the technical and commercial aspects of a potential project to produce environmentally friendly hydrogen for Metalloinvest enterprises based in Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions. Possible methods for producing hydrogen include splitting water by electrolysis using low-carbon electricity (“yellow” and / or “green” hydrogen) and Steam Methane Reforming (SMR), in combination with carbon dioxide capture and storage (“blue” hydrogen).


“This agreement is an important step in the implementation of Metalloinvest’s carbon footprint reduction strategy in its production [operations],” said Nazim Efendiev. “The company already has the means to modernise its equipment to [create] reducing gases [with up to] 30 percent hydrogen. The new metallisation [method] for Mikhailovsky HBI [will be] based on principles of carbon-free metallurgy, with the prospect of a complete transition to the use of hydrogen as a reducing agent. As part of the implementation of our Climate Strategy, [which was] approved this year, [Metalloinvest] has begun to develop a meticulous Hydrogen Strategy, which entails the production and use of hydrogen in main production processes to achieve carbon neutrality.”


“Together with our colleagues, we plan to work out the most cost-effective models to produce low-carbon hydrogen for the needs of Metalloinvest’s enterprises, estimate capital costs, and make a preliminary estimate of the production costs and [cost of] resources necessary to convert the holding’s enterprises to low-carbon hydrogen. The volume of aggregate hydrogen consumption by Metalloinvest enterprises may reach 150,000 tons per year,” said Evgeny Pakermanov, President of Rusatom Overseas JSC.


“Eliminating CO2 emissions from the industry is at the heart of Air Liquide’s strategy and we are dedicated to providing our industrial customers with innovative technologies, to impart operational skills, and to support them in their quest for a low-carbon future. Air Liquide is pleased to join forces with Metalloinvest and Rosatom to achieve these ambitious goals [and] contribute to the future of the steel industry, bringing to this collaboration the unique knowledge it gained over more than 50 years of experience [working] in hydrogen technology,” said Marilene Turcotte, Director General of Air Liquide, Russia.


Metalloinvest plans to switch to using hydrogen in metallisation processes in the long-term completely and has set a goal to reduce its own CO2-equivalent emissions by 6 percent by 2025. In 15 years, the holding’s CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by 77 percent.