In Belgium, ArcelorMittal has disclosed that it has successfully tested ethanol production on live steel waste gas stream at the ArcelorMittal Gent facility. Conducted with a mobile Gas Testing Sstation (GTS) from LanzaTech, the successful results bode well for the recently started Steelanaol project.
Over the last couple of years, US-headed biotechnology and carbon recycling process developer LanzaTech Inc., has run demonstration plant facilities in New Zealand, China and Taiwan, learning from over 40 000 hours of testing how its proprietary gas fermentation process runs with steel mill waste gasses.
To test the compatibility of the LanzaTech gas fermentation process with the steel mill waste gas at ArcelorMittal’s site in Ghent, a mobile self-contained gas fermentation unit (Gas Testing Station) was installed for a number of weeks. The GTS is designed as a tool for testing LanzaTech gas fermentation technology compatibility with the raw process gas and local water and potentially locally sourced industrial chemicals at any location in the world.
The boilerroom houses two blast furnace (BF) burners, an ideal place to tap off some steelmill gas, direct this to the mobile unit and perform the compatibility tests. The microbes utilize the carbon monoxide (CO) in the gas, start growing and produce ethanol.
The GTS is capable of performing fermentation of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) containing gases into ethanol and other liquid products. Two gas lift reactors are installed, precise gas flow control, dosing pumps, a safety system and the required analytics (gas chromatograph, GC) to monitor the gas composition and liquid product profile.
The gas fermentation unit has been connected to blast furnace gas without any pre-treatment of the gas. Exposing the LanzaTech microbe to the non-pre-treated blast furnace gas provided insight into the effects of methane, oxygen and other low-level contaminants present on the fermentation performance.
Two runs using untreated blast furnace gas demonstrated significant microbial growth and ethanol production. This was a promising result for the first live test and an important step for the EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) co-funded Steelanol project showing the integration of the LanzaTech process within ArcelorMittal’s steel mill in Ghent.