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Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

H2FUTURE is an FCH JU funded European flagship project for the generation of green hydrogen from electricity from renewable energy sources. Under the coordination of the utility VERBUND, the steel manufacturer voestalpine and Siemens, a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser manufacturer, a large-scale 6 MW PEM electrolysis system will be installed and operated at the voestalpine Linz steel plant in Austria. The Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) Austrian Power Grid (APG) will support the prequalification of the electrolyser system for the provision of ancillary services. The Energy research centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and K1-MET will study the replicability of the experimental results on larger scales in EU28 for the steel industry. The project started on 1st January 2017 and will run 4.5 years until 30th June 2021. This report covers the first reporting period from the beginning of the project up to 30th June 2018.
The main goal of the H2FUTURE project is to design, construct and operate a 6 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis system at the voestalpine steelworks in Linz, Austria. The aim of the demonstration is to show that the electrolyser is able to produce green hydrogen from renewable electricity while using power price opportunities and providing grid services to help stabilise the grid.
Therefore the H2FUTURE project tackles the key challenges of the renewable energy future:
-The integration of fluctuating renewable energies like wind and solar in the grid.
-The decarbonisation by sectorial integration of sectors such as the power and industry sector.
-The scale-up for implementation of renewable energy carriers such as green hydrogen.
By combining state-of-the-art PEM electrolyser technology with grid services and integrating both into the steel manufacturing process, H2FUTURE builds on the expertise of its project partners.
In the initial planning phase of the green hydrogen production plant the detail engineering of the critical building blocks was finalised. Detailed layouts, safety and implementation studies were carried out. These studies also served as basis for the permission documentation. The major milestone of successful authorisation for building and operating the electrolyser plant was granted by the end of 2017.
During the reporting period, manufacturing of the PEM modules at the Siemens Erlangen site started. A Silyzer 300 electrolyser prototype which works at atmospheric pressure was shown at the Hannover Trade Fair in Germany in April 2018 for the first time.
The electrolyser building was constructed, the electrical and media supplies and the infrastructure necessary were defined and are currently being implemented. The link of the electrolyser with the power and energy markets and the validation of the monitoring system for calculating the KPIs is currently in progress.
The scale-up and roll-out analysis focused so far on creating an overview of the steel and ammonia industry in the EU28 member states and on analysing the impact on electricity and energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions in case of partial or complete replacement of the conventional fossil based processes to renewable electrolytic hydrogen-based processes. In addition to these techno-economic study activities a first outline of the main regulatory issues and relevant legislation has been drafted as part of the final deliverable on recommendations to regulatory bodies.
In the first reporting period, the H2FUTURE consortium implemented 55 communication activities using different tools such as articles, invited key note lectures, exhibitions, workshops, poster and video presentations and a dedicated project website and was present at expert conferences, workshops, in expert magazine articles, daily print and online media (national and international) and in national broadcasting corporation. These activities were backed up by communication material available for the H2FUTURE consortium partners, comprising of a project website ( three videos, templates for PPTs, posters, reports and design guidelines based on the communication requirements in the Grant Agreement.
All Deliverables and Milestones of the Action scheduled in the first reporting period from 1st January 2017 to 30th June 2018 have been delivered and met.

The main part of the second reporting period from 1st of July 2018 to 31st of December 2019 was the manufacturing and erection of the electrolyzer plant. Most of the objectives and milestones of the project have been achieved with relatively minor deviations, however the manufacturing of the modules needed longer than expected. On November 11th, 2019 the first cubic meters of hydrogen were produced. The commissioning of the plant was continued. In the first quarter of 2020 the plant will be ready to start the demonstration phase.
Progress beyond state of the art
The unit developed and installed by Siemens is a first of its kind at that unit power level (6 MW) and meets the requirements for participating in the three power reserve markets as defined in EU28.
The IT system operated by the VERBUND group will welcome for the first time a PEM electrolyser as a swift variable load.
The demonstration aims at showing the conditions under which “green hydrogen” could become a serious reducing candidate to replace coke/coal and/or natural gas after 2030.

Expected impact
“Pure” Hydrogen streams, most often coming from natural gas reforming, are already used in the steel industry for specific applications, for example for the annealing of cold-rolled steel strips performed using mostly H2/N2 gas mixtures. The direct reduction process route of iron oxides, an alternative steelmaking processing route, with its two consecutive process steps Direct Reduction (DR) and Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) already uses significant amounts of hydrogen in the reducing gas which could be increased gradually.Thepresent demonstration aims at validating the electrolysis route for the steel value chain to manufacture whichever future hydrogen streams reliably and affordably by taking advantage in real time of attractive renewable electricity pricing and of possible remuneration of electrolysis as a contributor to balancing services.
Since, for the time being, no economically feasible steelmaking technologies are available to meet the CO2 reduction pathway, envisaged in the Commission Roadmap for a Low Carbon Economy in 2050, the successful demonstrations brought by H2FUTURE paves the way to progressive, yet plausible, implementations of steel manufacturing processes with lower CO2 footprints.
The techno-economic analysis of the pilot plant performance under the different use cases allows proposing plausible roll out scenarios of the various applications with the accompanying regulatory recommendations which should, if implemented, favour a low CO2 intensity steel manufacturing in EU28.
An extension to ammonia production is studied to develop similar roll out scenarios in this industry.
The consortium partners will develop recommendations on regulatory and policy measures which will support the “power to product” approach with hydrogen as an affordable and low CO2 content reducing agent.
Industrially integrated pilot plant
Green hydrogen
Photograph of press conference