CORDIS - EU research results

Green H2 and circular bio-coal from biowaste for cost-competitive sustainable Steel

Project description

Biocoal can make steel mills greener

Steel mills and metallurgical plants pose a significant challenge to reaching net-zero carbon emissions. The EU-funded H2STEEL project hopes to offer a solution by converting biowaste and biomethane into green hydrogen, carbon, and critical raw materials through a new type of catalysed pyrolysis. Using a newly designed reactor employing a novel catalyst, biomethane can be converted to green hydrogen in a low-cost way. Derived materials can then be used in steelmaking processes. This innovative solution avoids the release of CO2 and results in a net reduction of greenhouse gases.


The achievement of the Net-zero emissions target established by the European Commission is huge challenge which could not be achieved without re-thinking the conventional route (materials and energy chains). H2STEEL project proposes an innovative, disruptive solution to convert wet waste streams into green Hydrogen, Carbon and Critical Raw Materials. The proposed innovative solution aims at supporting the green transition of one of the most hard-to-abate industrial sector: metallurgy. In particular, H2STEEL combines the conversion of biowaste and bioCH4 through innovative catalyzed pyrolysis with chemical leaching, to fully convert biowastes into Green Hydrogen, Green Carbon (biocoal), and recovery of Critical (inorganic) Raw Materials. Biomethane pyrolysis is carried out in a brand new, ad-hoc designed, and proof-of-concept reactor, on a bed of biocoal made from pre-carbonized biowastes, i.e. on a very cheap fully carbon-based catalyst, very resistant to temperature and contaminants: this will enhance the efficiency of the methane cracking step to generate Green Hydrogen. As new solid carbon from methane cracking is generated on the biocoal surface, thus reducing the performance of the catalyst, new biocoal-catalyst is inserted in the reactor, while the spent biocoal is removed: the continuous renewal of the catalyst is feasible thanks to its low cost, and to the market value of the spent catalyst. This material, fully bio-carbon based, is then used in steel-making as a substitute of metallurgical (fossil) coke, generating a net GHG reduction, EU ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) compliant. The regeneration of the spent catalyst thus becomes unnecessary, as the biocoal is used in a downstream process, avoiding the release of CO2 in atmosphere (as it happens in the SMR process or in most of the catalysts regeneration steps).

Funding Scheme



Net EU contribution
€ 824 375,00
10129 Torino

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Nord-Ovest Piemonte Torino
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 824 375,00

Participants (5)

Partners (1)