Fortescue, voestalpine, and Primetals Technologies to Evaluate Groundbreaking...

In a partnership aimed at designing and engineering an industrial-scale prototype plant for net-zero-emission ironmaking, Primetals Technologies—together with its strategic partners Mitsubishi Corporation—, Fortescue—a global leader in the mining and heavy industries—, and—globally leading steel and technology group—voestalpine signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The partnership will also explore the implementation of the HYFOR and Smelter plant and its operation in Linz, Austria.

Transformative Technology

The new ironmaking process uses HYFOR and Smelter solutions from Primetals Technologies. HYFOR is the world’s first direct reduction process for iron ore fines that requires no agglomeration steps, such as sintering or pelletizing. A pilot plant has been operating since the end of 2021 in Donawitz, Austria. Primetals Technologies has run numerous successful test campaigns over the last year, including successful trials on Fortescue’s Pilbara iron ore products. The new Smelter solution from Primetals Technologies is a furnace powered by electrical energy for melting and final reduction of direct reduced iron (DRI) based on lower-grade iron ores.

voestalpine has a clear plan to decarbonize steel production with the greentec steel program. An important first step is the incremental shift from the blast furnace route to a hybrid-electric steel pathway from 2027. Over the long term, our mission is carbon-neutral steel production using green hydrogen, for which we are already undertaking intensive research into promising breakthrough technologies. With the joint project with Primetals Technologies and Fortescue, we are taking another new path towards achieving the goal of CO2-neutral steel production by 2050.”

Hubert Zajicek
Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and
Head of the Steel Division

This is a decisive step for the transition to green steel production, and we are very excited to be a key part of it. Our HYFOR technology is a result of decades of work in the direct reduction and hydrogen space. The Smelter is another game-changing green technology we are developing. By combining these solutions, we will enable a sustainable technology for green ironmaking over the long term.”

Dr. Alexander Fleischanderl
Senior Vice President and
Head of Green Steel at Primetals Technologies

Fortescue has more than two decades of expertise in the iron ore industry, rising to become one of the world’s lowest cost exporters, now shipping more than 180 million tons of iron ore a year. Global demand for iron ore and steel will remain strong for years to come, but we need cleaner, greener industry powered by green energy to eliminate emissions.”

Mark Hutchinson
CEO of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI)

HYFOR and Smelter Prototype

The project planning phase focuses on designing an industrial-scale prototype plant with a capacity of three to five tons of green hot metal per hour. During the project planning phase, the partnership will develop the basis for the decision to realize a prototype plant capable of continuous operation. The knowledge needed to produce a full-scale commercial plant will emerge from the prototype plant. Beyond plant design, the aim is to investigate the use of various types of iron ores to produce DRI, hot briquetted iron (HBI), and hot metal. Moreover, new conclusions about the individual process steps and their combinations will inform future designs.

The hydrogen used in the new plant will mainly come from Verbund, Austria’s leading renewable energy producer, which operates a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer called H2Future. Located in Linz, this plant has a capacity of over six megawatts and is still the world’s largest of its kind used at a steel plant. The H2Future plant will be upgraded to allow for the compression and storage of hydrogen gas before use in the combined HYFOR and Smelter plant.

From left to right: Dr. Franz Androsch, Senior Vice President and Head of R&D and Innovation at voestalpine; Hubert Zajicek, Head of the Steel Division at voestalpine; Sara Edmonson, GM Regional Lead Europe and the UK at Fortescue; Dr. Etsuro Hirai, CTO at Primetals Technologies; and Andreas Viehböck, Head of Upstream Technologies at Primetals Technologies

About voestalpine

voestalpine is a globally leading steel and technology group with a unique combination of materials and processing expertise. With around 500 group companies and locations, voestalpine has entities in more than 50 countries across all five continents. With its premium products and system solutions, it is a leading partner to the automotive and consumer goods industries and the aerospace and oil and gas industries. In addition, voestalpine is the world market leader in steel products for railway systems, tools, and special sections. voestalpine is fully committed to global climate goals, and its greentec steel program represents a clear plan for decarbonizing the production of steel

About Fortescue

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) is a global green energy company committed to producing green hydrogen, containing zero carbon, from 100 percent renewable sources. FFI is leading the green industrial revolution, developing technology solutions for hard-to-decarbonize industries while building a global portfolio of renewable energy, green hydrogen, and green ammonia projects. FFI is also leading the world effort to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors and is responsible for the proposed decarbonization of one of the biggest resources companies in the world by 2030 – its parent company Fortescue Metals Group


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