greentec steel is the voestalpine Group’s ambitious and feasible phased plan for green steel production. In a first step, one electric arc furnace will be constructed at each of the Linz and Donawitz sites. Converting to this technology allows the steel and technology Group to reduce its emissions by around 30%, representing annual savings of almost 4 million tons of CO2. The investment volume is around EUR 1.5 billion. This traditional groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of construction at the Donawitz site, and this major investment will bring significant economic benefits to the region.
Construction of the electric arc furnace (EAF) in Donawitz starts in 2024, with the EAF scheduled for commissioning three years later. Once fully operational, the EAF will produce around 850,000 tons of CO2-reduced steel annually. In contrast to the former LD (Linz-Donawitz) process, which uses coal and coke as a reducing agent, the EAF can be operated without the use of fossil fuels. The EAF uses scrap, liquid pig iron, and HBI (hot briquetted iron), with the mix adjusted according to the specific quality requirements.
Construction forging ahead
At the site in Donawitz the necessary construction areas are already being cleared, by demolishing facilities including the old continuous casting plant and the disused rail track. This is where the future EAF and new scrap hall will stand. The APG (Austrian Power Grid) and local provider Energie Steiermark are also at work installing the power supply infrastructure. The dimensions of the greentec steel project in Donawitz are immense: the two construction areas are roughly equal in size to 10 football pitches (75,000 m2). Around 100,000 m3 of earth needs to be moved. Implementation requires a structured program consisting of 11 independent implementation projects, involving a project team of around 75 internal and external experts.
The plant engineering tender was issued in summer 2023: Italian plant engineers Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche S.p.A. will be responsible for the engineering, production, and commissioning of the EAFs, using DIGIMELTER Technology.
Green electricity for the EAF
A key prerequisite for the conversion to electric arc technology is sufficient availability of green electricity at competitive prices. As well as signing delivery contracts with local energy providers to secure power supplies, voestalpine is installing photovoltaic systems to expand the Group’s own renewable energy generation capacities. In addition, wind turbines, hydraulic power generators, and further photovoltaic installations will be developed together with regional partners.
Significant economic impact in Styria and Austria as a whole
Construction of the two electric arc furnaces, one in Donawitz and one in Linz, will have a significant economic impact, as an Industrial Science Institute (IWI) study from September 2023 shows. The investments at both sites will generate value in Austria to the tune of EUR 767 million during the construction phase alone. This includes all the products and services linked directly and indirectly to, and triggered by, the investment. In addition, around 9,000 jobs will be secured in Austria during the construction period.
The investment of around EUR 450 million at the site in Donawitz creates Austria-wide added value of EUR 237 million, of which up to EUR 158 million will be generated in Styria. The investment in Donawitz will secure around 2,800 jobs in Austria during the construction phase, 1,700 of them in Styria.