Coal-based blast furnaces in the EU are on their last legs
Coal-based blast furnaces in the EU are on their last legs

14 February 2024 – Coal-based blast furnaces in the European Union have reached the end of their life expectancy and are whistling out of the last hole. Are EU subsidy billions being greenwashed with non-existent hydrogen? And stainless steel prices in Europe have risen by up to 10%.

Coal-based blast furnaces in the EU are on their last legs

The issue of green hydrogen, even though it has now proved almost impossible to achieve the ambitious targets set by the European Union and its steel manufacturers, continues to be publicized in the media, e.g. by thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, and presented as the miracle weapon in the fight against CO2 emissions that will probably never materialize.

German hydrogen strategy now only “h2-ready”

The German government has also massively scaled back its hydrogen strategy and energy production with hydrogen is not expected at all before 2035 to 2040, probably later. And “The new power plants should initially be able to be operated with natural gas and later with all colors of hydrogen – preferably green hydrogen.” Until then, the new power plants, which have not yet been planned or built, let alone have a willing operator, are expected to run on natural gas. And the fact that most “colorful” hydrogens, apart from the non-existent “green” hydrogen, emit significantly more CO2 than natural gas, for example, is no longer even mentioned.

EU blast furnaces whistling from the last hole

Why is the European Union or Germany and the other member states currently so generously distributing billions in subsidies for ageing and dirty steel producers and upholding environmental protection and the reduction of CO2 emissions? Good question. This could be due to the fact that by 2030, 71% of the coal-based blast furnaces in operation worldwide will have reached the end of their lives and will have to be replaced with high inventions.

2030: End-of-live reached for 1 billion tons of nominal crude steel production

In total, more than 1 billion tons of nominal crude steel production. And in the European Union in particular, these investments must be a done deal by 2025 at the latest, as the blast furnaces there only have a life expectancy of around 15 years. Or are concerns about environmental protection really driving the political agenda here?

Billions in hidden green subsidies

Because green hydrogen will not be available in sufficient quantities before 2040, if at all. But it just sounds much better when billions in subsidies are wrapped in a green dress, which, together with measures such as CBAM, Safeguard and a possible upcoming Global Arrangement for Sustainable Steel and Aluminum (GASSA), create a competitive advantage for EU steel mills, which is also presented to the outside world as a level playing field.

European stainless steel prices continue to rise

According to reports from the market, prices for coil and sheet in the European Union have continued to rise, increasing by up to 10% compared to the previous month. There is also a clear upturn in the market and a large gap between the limited supply options of European mills and the real and significantly higher demand in the market.

Latest news

Receive all the latest news once a week

Receive all the latest news once a week

Make it easy for yourself: we will remind you once a week about the latest news.

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!