Open questions and research directions in green steel making

D. Raabe, I.R. Souza Filho, Y. Ma, Y. Bai, J.R. Mianroodi, M. J. Klug, D. Vogel, M. Rohwerder, R. Zhou, L. Choisez, Ö. Özgün, Ö. Büyükuslu, H. Springer

Max-Planck Institut für Eisenforschung, Düsseldorf, Germany


More than 1.85 billion tons of steel are produced every year, making it the most important alloy in terms of volume and impact. While steel is a sustainability enabler, through lightweight car parts, wind farms and magnets, its primary production is the opposite. Its reduction from oxides by use of fossil carbon carriers produces 2t CO2/t of steel, qualifying it as the largest single cause of global warming.

This presentation is an introduction to the most important pending basic research questions associated with producing steel more sustainably, particularly with lower CO2 emissions.

It opens a critical discussion on the question what the basic science topics behind green steel making are and which key research questions must be tackled primarily to re-invent a 3000-year-old industry within a few years. Also it is discussed which reduction methods are the most promising ones and which scientific bottleneck questions must be solved to make Green Steel become reality. Therefore, the presentation addresses some recent progress and open issues in understanding the key mechanisms of hydrogen-based direct reduction and hydrogen-based plasma reduction including topics such as the kinetics of the solid state and plasma-based reduction reactions, mass transport kinetics, nucleation during the multiple phase transformations, the oxide’s chemistry and microstructure, the roles of plasticity, damage and fracture associated with the phase transformation and mass transport phenomena occurring during and possible simulation approaches. The overall lecture aims to give an introduction to these topics as many aspects will be discussed deeper in specific lectures during the same workshop.


Dierk Raabe studied music, metallurgy and metal physics. After his doctorate 1992 and habilitation 1997 at RWTH Aachen he received a Heisenberg fellowship by DFG and worked at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh). He joined Max Planck Society as a director in 1999. He works in computational materials science, sustainable metallurgy, alloy design, hydrogen and atom probe tomography. He received the Leibniz award, 2 ERC Advanced Grants and the Acta Materialia Gold Medal Award. He is a professor at RWTH Aachen and at KU Leuven. He is a member of the National Academy Leopoldina.


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