In Ghent, ArcelorMittal Belgium, part of India-headed global steel major ArcelorMittal has hosted the official inauguration of ‘Steelanol’, the company's flagship carbon capture, and utilization (CCU) project to convert blast-furnace gases (BFG) into ethanol.
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Utilizing proprietary biotechnology from US-headed carbon capture and transformation (CCT) technology provider LanzaTech Inc., the circa EUR 200 million carbon capture and utilization (CCU) plant is part of a multi-technology strategy by ArcelorMittal Europe to reduce carbon emissions at the Ghent steel plant.
ArcelorMittal Ghent is widely regarded as one of the finest steel plants in Europe, staffed by talented, committed, and forward-thinking people. We intend to ensure that reputation endures into the future and I believe the work being undertaken here lays the ground for what the steel plant of the future will look like, said Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal Executive Chairman in his introductory address.
The ‘Steelanol’ project is also a first of its kind for the European steel industry.
I am pleased to see ArcelorMittal is taking bold and innovative steps by decarbonizing its steel production at its new installation in Ghent. This is an important step in the fight against climate change while safeguarding our future competitiveness and securing Belgian jobs, said Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium.
Maintaining and enhancing heavy industry in Europe is of crucial importance for economic growth and strategic autonomy. The high ambitions of ArcelorMittal for sustainability and circularity fit within the climate targets of the Flemish government: a carbon-neutral and circular society by 2050, while safeguarding industrial and economic activities in our region, said Jan Jambon, Flemish Minister-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Culture, Digitalisation, and Facility Management, in a pre-recorded message at the event.
Cutting-edge CCU biotechnology
Utilizing cutting-edge carbon recycling technology developed by project partner LanzaTech, the Steelanol CCU plant uses proprietary biocatalysts to transform carbon-rich waste gases from the steelmaking process and from waste biomass into advanced ethanol.
Steelanol is the world’s second plant to use LanzaTech’s technology to convert BFG into ethanol, the first plant is located at the Jingtang Steel Mill in Caofeidian in Hebei Province, China.
The leadership and commitment of governments and large companies like ArcelorMittal are needed to ensure single-use carbon becomes a thing of the past. This significant milestone brings us closer to creating a circular carbon economy at a time when all sustainable solutions are required to solve our climate crisis, said Dr Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech.
The latter became the first of its kind anywhere to receive Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) certification for CCU under the RSB Global Advanced Products Standard.
Other partners involved in the Steelanol project are Primetals Technologies and E4tech.
The steel sector’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050 definitely requires breakthrough CCU technologies. The Steelanol project is an incredible showcase for carbon recycling in Europe, ready to be rolled out in the heavy industry. We are extremely excited having been a strong partner since the very first days and proud of being a shareholder in LanzaTech, said Dr Alexander Fleischanderl, Head of Green Steel, Primetals Technologies.
Since 2015, E4tech, an ERM Group company, has been proudly supporting the Steelanol Consortium in evaluating how the concept of flue gas recycling could improve the greenhouse gas footprint of steel production by creating a petrol substitute from recycled carbon. E4tech remains committed to supporting sustainable innovations in the industrial and energy sectors and to promoting a circular economy. It has been an inspiring journey to work alongside forward-thinking companies like ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech, and Primetals and we hope the Steelanol Ghent plant will pave the way for further decarbonization of the steel and energy sectors, commented Dr Ausilio Bauen, ERM Partner.
The ethanol can then be used as a building block to produce a variety of chemical products including transport fuels, paints, plastics, clothing, and even perfume, hence helping to support the decarbonization efforts of the chemical sector.
The advanced ethanol will be jointly marketed by ArcelorMittal and LanzaTech under the “Carbalyst” brand name.
Once production reaches full capacity the Steelanol plant will produce 80 million litres of advanced ethanol, almost half of the total current advanced ethanol demand for E10 fuel blending in Belgium, and reduce annual carbon emissions from the Ghent steel plant by 125 000 tonnes.
Inaugurating the European steel industry’s first carbon capture and utilization plant is an important moment for our European business, and for our target to reduce the carbon intensity of the steel we produce in Europe by 35 percent by 2030. We have long held the view that multiple technologies will be required for our industry to reach net zero, and today is an important proof point of our commitment to developing and deploying those technologies as quickly as possible, and to make meaningful progress this decade, said Geert Van Poelvoorde, CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe.
Torrefaction project nearing completion
ArcelorMittal Ghent will soon inaugurate another first for the European steel industry, with its ‘Torero’ project set to come on stream in the first quarter of 2023.
The EUR 35 million Torero project is designed to process sustainable biomass (initially in the form of waste wood that cannot be used in other applications) for use as a raw material input into the blast furnace, thereby lowering the volume of fossil coal used.
This project will reduce annual carbon emissions in Ghent by 112 500 tonnes. ArcelorMittal Ghent intends to add a second torrefaction reactor to its Torero project within the next two years, hence doubling the size of the project.
The imperative to accelerate the road to net zero has never been greater. Given the scale of the challenge, it’s important to be open to all technology solutions and certainly, at ArcelorMittal, we are open to all technologies that can take steelmaking to near zero, said Aditya Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal.
Accelerating decarbonization with XCarb
The projects being undertaken in Ghent form an important part of ArcelorMittal’s 2030 climate action roadmap, in which the Group is targeting to reduce the carbon intensity of the steel it produces by 25 percent globally, and by 35 percent across its European operations.
In addition, the company is also investing in the “best and brightest technologies” that hold the rich potential to accelerate the decarbonization of steelmaking through its XCarb Innovation Fund.
To date, ArcelorMittal has committed to investments totaling US$222.5 million, including an investment of US$30 million in LanzaTech, its Steelanol partner.
The investments we are planning here at Ghent are a great testament to that. It’s also become abundantly clear that collaboration and partnership are essential to delivering the systems-wide change we need to reach zero, as this project demonstrates. We have worked closely together with a wide group of stakeholders here in Belgium and indeed also more broadly across Europe, on the conditions and infrastructure that support the investment in these types of technologies and the transition to net zero. I want to thank everyone who has supported our efforts and made today – the inauguration of the European steel industry’s first carbon capture and utilization plant – possible, ended Aditya Mittal.