The Luxembourg-headquartered engineering firm Paul Wurth has confirmed that, on 18 December 2018, it has signed up into binding agreements following which it will take a minority stake in the German cleantech company Sunfire GmbH, based in Dresden, a step described as a strategic step towards green ironmaking.
Incorporated in 2010 and employing 130 people, Sunfire develops and manufactures steam electrolysers (SOEC) and high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC). Steam electrolysis splits steam into hydrogen and oxygen. It is particularly efficient and is powered by renewable electricity. The hydrogen generated can be efficiently converted into crude oil substitutes via the Sunfire Power-to-Liquid process as well as being used directly in hydrogen powered mobility or industrially. Rewarded as one of the world’s most innovative companies, Sunfire has recently joined the European Hydrogen Initiative.
Paul Wurth’s participation in Sunfire is a key element in the company’s overall strategy to lead the transformation towards carbon-free iron ore reduction and become a leading partner also in green ironmaking.
Besides Paul Wurth’s present efforts to offer tailor-made short and mid-term solutions that help steel producers to stepwise reduce their CO2 footprint in the traditional blast furnace route, Paul Wurth is committed to develop long-term future-oriented solutions for the Iron & Steel industry. One scenario thereof is H2 based ore reduction, where green hydrogen becomes a main substitute for carbon. In this respect, the co-operation with Sunfire will give Paul Wurth access to a specialist team in the field of hydrogen production as well as to a promising technology with high development potential in the Iron & Steel industry. Additionally, it will open up new markets for diversification as the substitution of fossil fuels by so-called e-fuels concerns many other industries and activities, especially heavy load transportation by trucks, ships and airplanes.
Paul Wurth’s green ironmaking strategy is fully in line with the Luxembourg Government’s initiatives defined in the frame of the “third industrial revolution” and focusing on the challenges regarding energy, mobility, industry or circular economy, amongst others.
Founded in 2010, Sunfire GmbH develops and produces high-temperature electrolysers (SOEC) and high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC). The company employs 130 people. High-temperature electrolysis produces valuable hydrogen from water. It is particularly efficient and is powered by renewable electricity. In the latest version, high-temperature electrolysis can not only reactivate water, but also CO2 and thus transform, in the most direct way, combustion off-gases into clean feedstock, replacing mineral oil or natural gas. Thanks to this technology, the entire transport sector and many industrial processes, relying today on oil, gas or coal, can be transformed in a sustainable and CO2-neutral way.
About Paul Wurth
Headquartered in Luxembourg since its creation in 1870, the engineering company Paul Wurth is a leading technology provider and supplier of complete plants and facilities for the primary stage of integrated steelmaking. Besides its activities for the iron and steel industry, Paul Wurth Geprolux is specialised in the management and coordination of large civil construction and infrastructure projects. With more than 1,500 employees, Paul Wurth is active worldwide, operating entities and affiliated companies in the main iron and steelmaking regions of the world.