PwC and Strategy& supporting thyssenkrupp hydrogen program

27 March 2024 3 min. read

Consulting firm PwC and its strategy subsidiary Strategy& are part of a major new decarbonization initiative from thyssenkrupp Steel. The ‘tkH2Steel’ project is set to revolutionize the potential for green steel in Europe, with plants being converted to use 100% hydrogen energy by 2029.

According to reports, PwC and Strategy& have been overseeing the process from the start, helping to investigate business cases for the tkH2Steel project. At this stage of the project, they are supporting the procurement work, making a call for tenders to supply hydrogen to the plants.

Behind the scenes, Strategy& has also been providing strategic counsel to Thyssenkrupp’s board in relation to the tkH2Steel program and the broader transition to a future where green steel is the standard.

PwC and Strategy& supporting thyssenkrupp hydrogen program

The tkH2Steel project is focused on operations in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where thyssenkrupp Steel owns and operates Europe’s largest iron and steel plant. Last year, the EU commission approved German federal and state government funding for the project to the tune of €2 billion.

“Our project is an important contribution to achieving the climate targets in Germany and Europe and secures sustainable industrial jobs, also in related sectors,” says Bernhard Osburg, executive board chairman of thyssenkrupp Steel in Europe.

“We thank the German government and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia for their continued and determined support for the green transformation of our steel production and their confidence in our concept.”

The new hydrogen-powered plant will be the first of its kind in the world, with two melters capable of producing 2.5 million metric tons of iron per year. Annually, this will cut back a total of around 3.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the company’s operations.

“Strategy& and PwC are proud to support thyssenkrupp Steel in one of the largest decarbonization projects in Germany – the transition from blast oxygen furnace with coke coal to direct reduction of iron with clean hydrogen,” said Dirk Niemeier, director and Clean Hydrogen Solutions lead at Strategy&, in a LinkedIn post.

“The federal and North Rhine-Westphalia state governments have agreed to provide approximately two billion euros in support for the tkH2Steel project, and we are excited to continue our support for this initiative.”

Decarbonizing steel production

This initiative is seen as a major step for Europe (and Germany specifically) towards the EU’s goals of cutting harmful emissions in crucial industry. Germany and other countries in the bloc like Poland and the Czech Republic still rely on coal to a surprising degree, with the dirty fossil fuel still accounting for over 20% of German power production.

Global industrial conglomerate thyssenkrupp Steel operates in over 60 countries and is a key player in the steel industry. The race to decarbonize the steel industry is quite high-stakes, with steel being a notoriously difficult to abate product and the demand for it increasing steadily.

The demand for steel is expected to increase because it is a major necessity for a wide range of commodities from tools to weapons to furniture, and also a huge requirement for buildings and other major infrastructure around the world.

As far as green energy, there is also a growing demand for hydrogen in Europe as the potential for the clean fuel is clear to both governments and the private sector. A previous report showed that Azerbaijan could become a major supplier of so-called ‘green hydrogen’, that type of hydrogen energy that creates no harmful byproducts when created.