In support of President Biden's Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $171 million for 49 projects across 21 states to reduce industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and accelerate the development of innovative decarbonization technologies. This includes $10 million funded by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office to demonstrate hydrogen direct reduction at a steel plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this project will demonstrate a first-of-a-kind integration of a solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) with an industrial direct reduction shaft furnace, offering a unique opportunity to reintegrate waste heat into hydrogen generation. This hydrogen can be reutilized to produce direct reduced iron. Additionally, an SOEC does not require scarce platinum group metal catalysts for hydrogen production. The goal is to demonstrate at least 90% GHG emissions reduction potential for direct reduction ironmaking at a production capacity of 1.6 million tons per year.

This project directly supports hydrogen applications for industrial decarbonization, a key technology area identified in the national clean hydrogen strategy that further aligns with the priorities of the Hydrogen Interagency Task Force, which is coordinating a whole-of-government approach to advancing clean hydrogen. These efforts include tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act and ongoing research, development, and demonstration to drive down the cost of clean hydrogen and achieve the Hydrogen Shot goal of $1 per kilogram within a decade.