Project Low Carbon Future

Exploitation of projects for low-carbon future steel industry

Overall approach

The current production of iron and steel from iron ore is closely linked to carbon, and thus highly dependent on fossil fuels resulting in large amounts of CO2. In order to reach the EU's climate goals, CO2 emission must be decreased by at least 80 % until 2050 (based on 1990’s level), according to the European Steel Association (EUROFER). Only by means of process optimization, the reduction target cannot be reached, since European production routes, especially the Blast Furnace (BF)/Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) route perform at their physical thermodynamic limits. Therefore, new and innovative technologies (Breakthrough Technologies) are needed.

The RFCS accompanying measure project LowCarbonFuture collected, summarized, evaluated and promoted projects/research activities and knowledge concerning CO2 mitigation in iron and steelmaking. Current pan-European research focus on the technological pathways Carbon Direct Avoidance (CDA) and Smart Carbon Usage (SCU).

CDA is based on "green" hydrogen and/or electricity, which enables steelmaking without the direct release of CO2 (see Figure 1). The technology pathway SCU addresses the existing fossil fuel-based steelmaking routes and their modifications towards a carbon-lean production. SCU includes the pathway Process Integration (PI) and Carbon Capture and Usage (CCU) and can be applied in combination with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).



LowCarbonFuture focused on the collection, valorisation and dissemination of information and results of European research projects concerning the pathways CDA, PI and CCU. As a result, a roadmap stating research needs, requirements and boundary conditions regarding a successful implementation was generated to guide the EU iron and steel industry towards a carbon-clean steel production. 

The main objectives of LowCarbonFuture were:

  • Collection and evaluation of research activities and knowledge regarding CO2-mitigation technologies within the steel industry
  • Generation of a roadmap for future R&D needs 
  • Optimization of technology transfer between the steel companies and stakeholders
  • Determination of requirements and building blocks for a successful technology implementation
  • Dissemination of the gained knowledge (workshops, seminars, webinars)



Project runtime:

2018-04-01 to 2020-03-31

Funding scheme:


The Project "LowCarbonFuture" received a 100 % funding of the European Commission from the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) under grant agreement No 800643.

Project partners: