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Steel is used in many different products that support people’s lives ranging from automobiles, bullet trains, houses, and daily necessities to PCs, smartphones, aircraft, and even spacecraft, and the steel industry serves as the foundation for all sorts of industries.

In steel manufacturing, the method of using carbon (charcoal or coal) to reduce iron ore (iron oxide) has mainly been used for centuries, but this method inevitably emits CO2. To reduce CO2 emissions, we must brake away from the conventional method of using coal as the raw material or reducing agent. To make this drastic change in steelmaking processes, hydrogen reduction steelmaking, which uses hydrogen instead of carbon to reduce iron ore, has been studied in different countries around the world, but the technologies needed for it have not yet reached a place where they can be put into practical use.

This project aims to apply hydrogen reduction technologies to conventional blast furnaces (blast furnace hydrogen reduction technologies) and establish a technology for directly reducing low-grade iron ore using hydrogen (direct hydrogen reduction technology) toward realizing a carbon-neutral steelmaking process.