Thinking Sustainably Ahead: Blue Steel

Daniel Kipp

Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) is already making its contribution to a clean world today. DEW has been working for years on reducing CO2 emissions in its production. In recent years, the energy consumption in the company has been reduced by almost 100 million KWh/a and thus CO2 emissions by around 30,000 t/a. Various projects, processes and products have been contributed to this. One of these is Green Steel.

Steel is 100% recyclable - so that less primary raw materials are used and resources are conserved. By using 100% renewable energy in DEW's steel production, CO2 emissions have already been reduced to approx. 107 kg CO2 per ton of crude steel. In simple terms: The CO2 emissions of one ton Green Steel from DEW corresponds to a car journey of about 750 km.

Thinking sustainability ahead with Blue Steel

DEW is not only working permanently on sustainability issues but also encourage the use of our steels for new technologies. The use of steel is particularly suitable for sustainable technologies such as electro-mobility, wind power, fuel cells, and much more, all to protect our environment. DEW combines its steel solutions for these technologies under the Blue Steel portfolio.

The chromatics is thus completed: from Green Steel in production to Blue Steel in application.

Blue Steel H2

Energy and mobility markets are changing. The limited availability of fossil fuels and the increasing environmental responsibility encourages a search for alternative drive systems and storage possibilities for renewable energy. The element that meets these requirements is hydrogen.

Hydrogen is primarily used in the chemical and petrochemical industry, but there are also applications in mobility which are becoming more important. Hydrogen-powered passenger cars are already on the market. They are suitable for everyday use. Additionally, buses, trucks and rail vehicles are being launched in the last years.

The chemical energy of hydrogen is converted into mechanical energy. This is done either by the combustion of hydrogen in a hydrogen engine or by the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell to drive electric motors.

The use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel will become a key element of the economy besides electric mobility. This provides a wider base for the flexible and sustainable energy supply of the future. Combined with the development of capacities for hydrogen electrolysis from renewable energies, technologies are becoming increasingly "greener".

Steel is an essential material for the production, transport and storage of hydrogen. It's used for components and fittings such as pipes, tubes, nozzles, injection systems in fuel cells, but also for flanges, valves, filters and gas outlets.  Components which are in direct contact with hydrogen must have a determined resistance to hydrogen. Especially austenitic stainless steels with high nickel contents are suitable for these applications. In addition to the typically used steel Acidur® 4435, other special steels are part of our Blue Steel H2 portfolio.

Blue Steel Wind

Whether as a single wind plant or as an offshore wind park, the generation of electricity from wind power has been an important topic for several years and is one of the most environment-friendly methods of power generation. Wind energy is also a supporting element of the energy turnaround.

The energy source wind is free of charge and available in unlimited quantities. With the help of wind plants, the energy of the wind is first converted into rotational energy and then into electrical energy, which is fed into the power grid.

Since 2019, wind power has been the most important source of energy in Germany. Around 25% of German electricity production is based on wind energy. This corresponds to a total output of 132 billion kWh in 2019 alone and further growth is expected. In Germany, an increase of 25% was recorded compared to the previous year.

The expansion of offshore wind farms, in particular, plays an important role in this context. The wind blows much stronger and steadier at sea than on land. The energy output of wind plants at sea is therefore significantly higher. This is characterized in particular by an increase in the rotor diameter.

The rotor blades of modern wind plant are more than a hundred meters long. At full load, they rotate at around six meters per second. In gusty winds, they are also subjected to abrupt loads. This imposes the highest demands on the material of the gears, bearings and fastening elements such as screws and bolts.

The steels that are used in wind plants must combine properties such as high wear resistance and fatigue strength with high toughness and homogeneity. In addition to the steel Carbodur® 6587 for rings, drive and gear parts of wind plants or the higher alloyed Durapur® 3520 for bearings, other special steels are part of the Blue Steel Wind portfolio.

Blue Steel Mobility

The CO2-limits for vehicles are getting down to 95 g/km. In principle there are three ways for the automotive industry to meet the requirements on CO2-reduction:

  1. Improvement of engine efficiency by increase injection pressure and/or increase combustion temperature
  2. Lightweight component design by removing material without stress by improved design after forging and/or additive manufacturing
  3. Lightweight design with improved materials by using high-strength steels and or steels with lower specific weight


Further reducing the weight of vehicles is one of the key challenges for the automotive industry in the next time. After all, less weight means lower CO2 emissions and improved material and resource efficiency.

DEW meets these challenging requirements with e.g. the Bainidur® portfolioBainidur® 1300, Bainidur® 7980 CN and Bainidur® AM – and the low-density high aluminium-alloyed Aludur®. These steels are a major part of the Blue Steel Mobility portfolio.

Bainidur® 1300 is specially designed for forgings. Compared to conventional bainitic steels it's characterized by an expanded range of cooling rates resulting in a complete bainitic microstructure. After forging the workpiece can be cooled like conventional forgings in an unregulated way without the risk of distortion. This steel is the ideal solution for a lot of forging applications regarding economic, mechanical properties and process stability.

Bainidur® 7980 CN is specially designed for case hardening and carbo-nitriding. It's a low-alloyed steel with a bainitic structure at ambient temperature. Bainidur® 7980 CN is, therefore, the ideal solution for a lot of applications regarding economic efficiency, mechanical properties and process stability. Fields of applications are e.g. gears especially for e-mobility with high torque or large gears in wind plants.

Bainidur® AM is a modified additive manufacturing version of Bainidur® 1300 and Bainidur® 7980 CN. It meets the increasing market demand for steels processed by additive manufacturing by allowing initial samples to be printed quickly and efficiently, which also exhibit the later component properties. Heat treatment and thermochemical surface treatments can be tested and optimized with the same material as in the serial production. Even spare parts, when the forging dies no longer exist, can be produced by additive manufacturing with the same properties as the original. From additive manufacturing to serial production is now possible with the Bainidur®-portfolio.

Aludur® is in development state and characterized by a reduced density. This is meanly done by a high aluminium content. Automotive components are lighter by keeping the volume so that a 1:1 replacement is possible. The strength of Aludur can be adjusted by heat treatment.

Changes can also be expected in the aerospace industry. By 2050, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 75% per passenger kilometer. The extreme temperatures and vibrations during flight require highly durable engine and landing gear components. Reducing the weight of individual components also plays an important role in reducing CO2 emissions. At the same time, the components must be high-strength and meet the highest requirements. In order to guarantee the functionality and safety of the aircraft in the future, extremely corrosion-resistant and robust components are required - of course at competitive prices and produced sustainably.

DEW has been successfully meeting these challenges for several years. The hardenable stainless steels Aerodur® 4545 Superclean / Ultraclean and Aerodur® 4548 Superclean prove their effectiveness in aircraft landing gear, among other applications. The engineering steel Aerodur® 6928 Ultraclean is also one of the proven grades for this application.

In order to further improve the toughness level and thus the load capacity of the steel, DEW specifically optimizes the alloying design and the process parameters for hot forming and heat treatment. With the high cyclical loads, every smallest inclusion or material defect can lead to component failure. Electro-slag and vacuum-arc remelting ensure the highest cleanliness and homogeneity of mechanical steel properties in highly stressed applications. The performance of the special steel increases, while at the same time enabling a high level of process reliability. One example is the remelted Aerodur® 4545 Superclean/Ultraclean. This steel ensures maximum reliability of safety-relevant components, including brake components and fuel distributors.

Contributing to a cleaner world together

Recycling, raw materials management, the use of green electricity and hydrogen, and sustainable products shape DEW's and your future. Become a part of it; learn more about Blue Steel and contact Deutsche Edelstahlwerke.

Article by Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW)

Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) is one of the world’s leading producers and processors of special steel long products and belongs to the Swiss Steel Group. In the three materials groups – engineering steel, tool steel and stainless, acid and heat resistant steel – Deutsche Edelstahlwerke offers international customers a uniquely wide range of product dimensions, from drawn wire with a diameter of 4.5 mm to open-die forgings with a diameter of 1,100 mm. As a partner with technical competence in steel, Deutsche Edelstahlwerke develops innovative, individual special steel solutions for complex high-tech applications and offers services ranging from steelmaking to extensive steel processing and steel finishing.