The strategic objective of the [H-ACERO] is to contribute to the decarbonization of the steel sector, using hydrogen as an alternative energy source at various points in the steel production process. To achieve this, this committee proposes to develop advanced technologies and new materials, compatible with the production processes of the steel industry, with the aim of achieving a sustainable steel production based on hydrogen (H2).

To this end, four areas of action are proposed in this project, one focused on the development of advanced equipment, another focused on consumables such as refractory, one related to the fuel source itself (H2) and, finally, an area related to the production process, in order to acquire the necessary technological knowledge to be able to apply hydrogen (H2) in the iron and steel industry.

This project is financed by the Basque Government, within the framework of the HAZITEK aid program for the support of Industrial Research Projects and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The overall budget of the H-ACERO project amounts to 8,856,545.54 € with a duration of 3 years.

Why Hydrogen?

The steel industry has always been considered a traditional sector and closely linked to a high energy consumption with the corresponding high generation of CO2. Thus, it is estimated that 9% of the total CO2 emissions to the atmosphere come from the iron and steel sectors. In this context, decarbonization in the steel sector represents a major challenge, based on the need to invest in innovative technologies, which in turn implies carrying out a technological transformation that will enable us to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

On the other hand, the development of green hydrogen, a fuel produced from clean energy sources, is already a reality. This technology is considered key to achieving a sustainable decarbonization, so at European level it has already become a strategic investment.

Against this backdrop, the entire value chain of the steel industry must be able to respond to these environmental needs. Steel equipment suppliers have to be able to transform their products to adapt them to fuels from clean sources such as hydrogen application, the different consumables of the steel plants have to be adapted to the new conditions resulting from the use of this new fuel, a safe infrastructure has to be developed to allow the supply of hydrogen as a clean fuel, and the resulting process has to be highly efficient without affecting the quality of the steels produced.


Project leader


Sarralle Environment&Energy, is Sarralle’s line of business that offers technological solutions for industrial sectors related to the Circular Economy and Energy. We contribute to the H-Acero project with our extensive engineering knowledge in the steel sector and leading this project enables us to acquire knowledge for the integration of hydrogen in all combustion equipment of steel companies.



Manufacturer of stainless steel with high nickel content. To analyze the effect that the atmosphere generated in hydrogen combustion furnaces has on stainless steel products, equipment and refractories.


Nippon Gases is one of the leading industrial and medical gases companies in Europe. Nippon Gases’ commitment to our customers, employees, partners and the communities in which we operate reflects our dedication to the environment and the sustainability of the planet. We are “The Gas Professionals” and share the same goal: “Making life better through gas technology”.


Tubos Reunidos Group is a company with 130 years of history in the steel pipe sector, one of the global leaders in special seamless steel tubular products for the energy sector. We are active suppliers for power generation projects – both conventional and clean sources – and strongly committed to the energy transition. TRG collaborates in the H-Acero project by contributing its expertise in the drying of steelwork troughs, as well as reheating and oxy-fuel furnaces, with the dual objective of acquiring knowledge within a collaborative intersectoral strategy and maintaining competitiveness in a decarbonized market.


The ArcelorMittal Group is committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 and to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2050, so the H-ACERO project comes at the right time to initiate this transition and create the knowledge needed to make it a reality in the coming years. ArcelorMittal Olaberria-Bergara is part of the long products activity area, specifically profiles, and will provide the necessary samples for the laboratory tests foreseen in the project.


Thermal Engineering & Refractory solutions: A combination of activities that has become a hallmark of identity and quality of our services for its clear synergies. A perfect fusion and one of the keys to our success.
INSERTEC, will work on the H-ACERO project with the challenge of developing a new generation of refractories to meet the new conditions generated by the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel: Selection of raw materials, development of new formulations, optimization of manufacturing processes and installation of coatings.


SIDEREX (Asociación Cluster de Siderurgia) is an entity whose aim is to increase the competitiveness of the steel sector through cooperative actions. In the H-ACERO project we contribute by giving visibility with dissemination actions to the efforts of the steel sector using green hydrogen as an alternative energy source to achieve sustainable decarbonization.


REFRACTARIOS KELSEN S.A., as a leader in the dolomitic refractory field for the steel industry, directs its resources and knowledge to research and collaboration with its customers in order to anticipate the future refractory needs of the sector. By participating in the H-ACERO project, REFRACTARIOS KELSEN S.A. contributes to the study of the impact that the use of hydrogen, as a heating medium, may have on the refractory coatings of furnaces by making its most advanced products available to the project.


Within the Celsa steel group, Nervacero is a production plant dedicated to the production of corrugated steel for construction. H-ACERO is a way for the steel industry to use hydrogen in all its processes.


In Sidenor we are leaders in the production of special long steels, as well as an important supplier of calibration products on the European market. In the H-ACERO project, as an industrial partner, we seek to provide answers to the current unknowns about the medium-term industrial viability of combustion with renewable hydrogen. This is in line with the company’s strategy of decarbonization and manufacture of sustainable steels.

Basque Network of Technology and Research Centers


Ceit is a multi-focused technology center that collaborates with companies from various sectors (railway, aeronautics, automotive, health, manufacturing, energy or environment) promoting high added value solutions through applied research projects. In the H-ACERO project, Ceit will focus its research on the effect that the application of hydrogen combustion has on the metallurgy of steels in the reheating furnace, and will also collaborate with refractory material manufacturers in the development of new formulations adapted to the requirements established for hydrogen combustion systems.


TECNALIA is the largest applied research and technological development center in Spain, a benchmark in Europe and a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance. In this project, TECNALIA will collaborate with the consortium in the implementation of combustion within the steelmaking process, both at a theoretical and experimental level.


R&D unit of Tubacex dedicated to the manufacture of seamless tubes in stainless steel and high alloys and nickel super alloys, with headquarters in Llodio (Álava).


Sidenor R&D activity is focused on increasing competitiveness through improvements and innovations in Quality, Costs, Productivity and Product Development with our customers.



Development of a new generation of refractory materials adapted to the new requirements of H2 atmospheres.


Generation of metallurgical knowledge on the effect on steel quality due to the use of new H2 combustion atmospheres in the reheating and oxyfuel processes.


Development of industrial technology for the intensive use of H2 in steelmaking processes.


Safety specifications for the use of H2 in steel applications.


Manufacture of prototypes (burners and equipment) for H2 combustion.


Development of first laboratory scale tests and prototype.





· Development of refractory materials
· Laboratory testing and post mortem analysis
· Prototype test (short duration)
· Design of ladle burners



· Laboratory test and post-mortem analysis of metallic and refractory materials
· Prototype testing and post-mortem analysis
· Numerical modeling of furnace behavior



· CFD design of injectors and burners



· Construction of a test bench for the application of oxyfuel in product cutting.
· Material testing and characterization on test specimens
· Technical feasibility of the application


The solutions resulting from the H-ACERO project will allow the creation of new resources capable of sustaining the effort and, therefore, the partners participating in the project will be able to undertake new research and development actions, favoring the global dimension of business innovation.

The participation of 4 agents of the RVCTI, CEIT, SIDENOR INVESTIGACIÓN Y DESARROLLO, TECNALIA and TUBACEX INNOVACIÓN, promotes the use of the scientific-technological capacities of the Basque Country.

The project will favor the knowledge that the companies participating in the consortium will acquire on the use of hydrogen in the iron and steel process, and will strengthen the tractor effect on the Basque economy..

For all of the above, the H-ACERO project has a balanced consortium that, as a global result, will have the knowledge of the application of hydrogen on technologies and processes in the iron and steel field, results that in the future will be reflected in new products and processes.



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Eusko Jaurlaritza - Gobierno Vasco