As part of my CESAREF Phd, which is funded through the Horizon Europe program, I had the opportunity to travel to Düsseldorf, Germany and participate in the METEC and 6th ESTAD conference which took place from 12 – 16 June 2023. ESTAD (European Steel Technology and Application Days) is the largest conference in Europe in the field of iron and steel, having counted with 1,300 participants from over 40 countries in 2023. It was held in parallel with METEC, the world’s pre-eminent trade fair for metallurgical technology, which together with trade fairs GIFA, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST formed the « Bright World of Metals ». It was a truly unique event, with ample opportunity for learning and exchanging.
In ESTAD, I was excited to make my first conference presentation in the context of my PhD, « Hydrogen-resistant refractories for direct reduced iron production ». I described interesting trials we carried out by exposing refractories to H2 and H2-CO atmospheres. The presentation was followed by a very interesting discussion.
Decarbonization was a very important topic in the conference program, which shows the effort and engagement of the iron and steel industry to reduce CO2 emissions. Hydrogen featured in a number of presentations, and it was interesting for me to learn more about the major role it will play in iron and steel production, and what the challenges are for its implementation. I came back to Austria feeling inspired to keep on working with hydrogen on my PhD!