Meet the partner:

Victor Cuervo of ArcelorMittal


Can you shortly introduce yourself and your role in the HyInHeat project?

With over 10 years of experience within the ArcelorMittal Global R&D Spain organization, Ángel García, area leader of the Process & Product Technologies team, and Víctor Cuervo, senior scientist of the Decarbonization and Sustainability team, have participated in the submission of HyInHeat proposal to the Horizon Europe call.

We are currently coordinating the definition of technical objectives, scheduling, and resources to fulfill the scientific objectives of this project. A key aspect of our role is defining the necessary adaptations of two pilot facilities located within the ArcelorMittal site in Gijon (Asturias, Spain) to operate with hydrogen (GasLab). Evaluating the requirements to retrofit existing facilities is necessary to define future layouts, operative procedures, and performance indicators in the transition to net-zero carbon heating operation.

These pilot plants replicate two industrial processes, direct fired furnace, and indirect heating with radiant tubes, used in the steelworks but also in other industries for high-temperature heating processes. The pilot plants are fully instrumented and used to assess the performance (energy efficiency, heat transfer, emissions) of industrial-size burners (0.2 to 1 MW) and are connected to the plant gas grid, able to operate 24/7 autonomously. In this project, a multi-sectorial and holistic approach will be focused on evaluating the usage of hydrogen in industrial furnaces.

Furthermore, we are supporting the industrial trials with hydrogen as fuel to be conducted in ArcelorMittal furnaces within the scope of this project.

How did ArcelorMittal get involved in the HyInHeat project?

Global R&D has a wide background in collaborating with different companies within project consortia in energy efficiency, decarbonization, sustainability, and industrial heating fields. This active collaboration has established partnership links with technology suppliers, research and technology organizations as well as universities. The scope of the participation has been agreed with the coordinator (University of Aachen), taking advantage of the capabilities of the pilot plants that allow for a multi-sectorial and holistic approach in a fully instrumented and controlled real operative environment.

How do you see the added value of HyInHeat for ArcelorMittal?

On the one hand, the technical and scientific knowledge to be built will undoubtedly allow us to understand the combustion of hydrogen from an industrial point of view. Considering the challenging decarbonization objectives of the company, aligned with societal requests, it is necessary to advance step-by-step in a safe and sustainable way.

In addition, these types of projects create a collaborative atmosphere that allows for launching new ideas and partnerships.

What is the role of ArcelorMittal in the HyInHeat project?

Two main contributions have been defined. First, the evaluation of burners for natural gas and hydrogen flexible operation (blends up to 100% hydrogen firing) with both direct-fired and radiant tube burners technologies. This will be carried out in the combustion furnaces of GasLab.

Second, we are supporting the industrial trials (definition, execution, and evaluation) included in the scope of the project to be performed by ArcelorMittal in its industrial furnaces.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of the project?

First of all, to carry out the trials in a safe way, obtaining consistent results that allow us to understand the industrial combustion of hydrogen and the impact on our operations. But also, it is important to move forward in the transition to a net-zero carbon plant by launching new demonstration initiatives as well as identifying scientific/technological challenges to be investigated in further steps.

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