Research database

LowImpactFuels4Met - Low environmental impact fuels for metallurgical industries

24 months (2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
Nationally funded research - PRIN
Funding body:
Project identification number:
PoliTo role:


Fuels and various energy sources play a fundamental role in the metallurgical industries. Steel production tends to be highly dependent on coal and/or gas for energy, for carrying out chemical reactions, or both. There are possibilities for reducing CO2 emissions at several points. The production has been gradually decarbonized by reducing the use of coal, which would be partially replaced by natural gas, oil, plastic waste, hydrogen, electricity, integration with CO2 capture, utilization and storage technology and sustainable biomass technology. Hydrogen is the most promising candidate for a low-carbon replacement, as it could offer significant climate benefits.The hydrogen production from non-renewable sources continue to grow all around the world because of the continuous needing of such energetic vector in the modern industry. Given the early stage of methane pyrolysis and the range of technologies available, an economic and efficiency evaluation of the process remains lacking. Assuming the technology successfully scales and the carbon black is not sold onto the market, the decision to build a methane pyrolysis facility or a blue hydrogen facility will largely depend on the handling of the carbon-based byproducts and its impact on the economics of hydrogen production. Obviously, the decarbonization of human activities needs that hydrogen will be produced through sustainable routes. One of the most promising ways is the electrolysis of water with the energy sources provided by renewables. By hydrogen-based steelmaking route, CO2 emissions would be reduced by more than 80%. Hydrogen steelmaking will depend profoundly on the availability of green hydrogen. It can be generated from natural gas or from water by electrolysis. Hydrogen, either pure or as a synthesis gas through reforming methane or natural gas, can be used in conventional direct-reduction reactors or in more futuristic flash reactors. These hydrogen production technologies will provide a crucial support for the development of hydrogen metallurgy in steel industry. The project will be developed through different Tasks carried out by the different partners always connected and collaborating each other. The project Tasks will be: T1-Hydrogen production through electrolysis (University of Salento) Months 0-18 T2-Natural gas pyrolysis (Polytechnic of Turin; Polytechnic of Milan) Months 0-9 T3-Pyrolysis carbon production for metallurgical furnaces (Polytechnic of Milan) Months 0-9 T4-Direct reduced iron production through hydrogen (University of Salento) Months 10-21 T5-Microstructural characterization of pre-reduced iron (University of Salento) Months 13-22 T6-Cast iron production from pre-reduced iron and pyrolysis carbon (Polytechnic of Milan) Months 17-21 T7-Employment of pyrolysis carbon into fuel cells (Polytechnic of Milan) Months 10-14 T8- Management, coordination and dissemination (University of Salento; Polytechnic of Turin; Polytechnic of Milan) Months 0-24





ERC sectors

PE8_9 - Production technology, process engineering
PE8_11 - Sustainable design (for recycling, for environment, eco-design)

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 12. Garantire modelli sostenibili di produzione e di consumo


Total cost: € 236,621.00
Total contribution: € 196,963.00
PoliTo total cost: € 53,500.00
PoliTo contribution: € 47,000.00