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POSCO to transform itself into eco-friendly steelmaker

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POSCO's HyREX technology is displayed at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, last Sept. 8. Courtesy of POSCO
POSCO's HyREX technology is displayed at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, last Sept. 8. Courtesy of POSCO

By Lee Kyung-min

POSCO plans to spearhead discussions on transforming coal-based steelmaking into a green, sustainable project, the Korean steel giant said Monday.

The long-term goal is buttressed by HyREX, a hydrogen-based steelmaking technology developed by POSCO and defined by the exclusive use of hydrogen as an energy source.

The environmentally sustainable method produces significantly less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of fossil fuels associated largely with the production of contaminants, hazardous byproducts and solid waste.

HyREX is the latest and more advanced version of FINEX, a POSCO technology where molten iron is produced directly in a blast furnace. The process, touted by the steel giant as an innovative and paradigm-shifting technology, eliminates preliminary processing and uses cheaper iron ore powder and bituminous coal as raw materials.

The high-tech growth strategy was introduced at HyIS 2021: Hydrogen Iron & Steel Making 2021, the world's first international forum that presented the green steelmaking method to POSCO's global peers last October in Seoul.

POSCO Group CEO Choi Jeong-woo said at the forum that he will lead the era of global green steelmaking, as specified by a subset of goals to attain carbon neutrality, including the development of an online platform for hydrogen-mediated steelmaking technology.

"Carbon neutrality is an immensely challenging task for any single steelmaker to take on alone, and any one particular country for that matter," he said in his opening speech at the forum.

"However, we will usher in that era sooner than expected, as backed by sharing knowledge and experience in technology development and vision through healthy competition, cooperation and exchanges of expert opinions."

POSCO plans to explore ways to commercialize the technology by 2030 for a gradual yet full replacement of current fossil-fuel steelmaking facilities with the new, green models.

The efforts will help strengthen POSCO's leadership in steelmaking on the global stage, the company said.

Lee Kyung-min


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