At an event held at its steel plant in Ghent, Belgium, attended by the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon, members of the Belgian and Flemish governments, European Investment Bank Vice-President Kris Peeters, ArcelorMittal Executive Chairman, Lakshmi Mittal, and ArcelorMittal Europe CEO, Geert Van Poelvoorde, ArcelorMittal (‘the Company’) successfully inaugurated its flagship carbon capture and utilisation (‘CCU’) project.
The €200 million ‘Steelanol’ project is a first of its kind for the European steel industry. Utilising cutting-edge carbon recycling technology developed by its project partner LanzaTech, the CCU plant uses biocatalysts to transform carbon-rich waste gases from the steelmaking process and from waste biomass into advanced ethanol, which can then be used as a building block to produce a variety of chemical products including transport fuels, paints, plastics, clothing and even cosmetic perfume, hence helping to support the decarbonisation 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 fuel mixing in Belgium. It will reduce annual carbon emissions from the Ghent plant by 125,000 tonnes. Other partners involved in the Steelanol project are Primetals Technologies and E4tech.
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 €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, hence 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 reactor to its Torero project over the next two years, hence doubling the size of the project.
Speaking at the event, Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, said: “I am pleased to see ArcelorMittal is taking bold and innovative steps by decarbonising 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. By investing in clean energy technologies, ArcelorMittal is not only helping to lower carbon emissions, but it is also setting the standard for the industry. The only way forward is cleaner production that leads to better products.”
Jan Jambon, Flemish Minister-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Culture, Digitalisation and Facility Management, said: “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.”
Lakskmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal Executive Chairman, said: “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. This is a steel plant which is embracing the latest innovative technologies; which is using sources of circular carbon; which captures and re-uses as many of its waste products as possible, recycling them into something of value; and which is preparing for a future when green hydrogen will remove the need to use any fossil carbon. It is a strong example of what is possible with energy, effort and of course, brilliant scientific minds. It also demonstrates what can be achieved through partnership, so I must thank the Belgian and Flemish governments and the EIB for the support they are providing towards our efforts to transition to net-zero steelmaking.”
ArcelorMittal CEO Aditya Mittal added: “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. The investments we are planning here at Ghent are a great testament to that. It’s also become abundantly clear that collaboration and partnership is essential to deliver 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 utilisation plant – possible.”
ArcelorMittal Europe CEO, Geert Van Poelvoorde, said: “Inaugurating the European steel industry’s first carbon capture and utilisation 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 per cent 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 making meaningful progress this decade. Our ambition is clear, to lead our industry’s efforts to reach net zero. It is a huge challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. A low-carbon European economy needs low-carbon emissions steel to build its renewable energy infrastructure, low-carbon buildings and electric vehicles. And our customers expect us to deliver low-emissions steel today. Projects such as Steelanol and Torero will help us to meet that demand through our suite of XCarb® products.”
ArcelorMittal Belgium CEO, Manfred Van Vlierberghe, said: “ArcelorMittal Belgium has a passion for sustainability and circularity. We are heading to become the sustainable steel company of the future through new breakthrough technologies such as Steelanol. This technology contributes to strengthening our global leadership in terms of CO2 and energy efficiency in the steel sector. Steelanol is a strong asset towards our Europe-wide goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 35 per cent by 2030, and of achieving carbon-neutral steelmaking by 2050.”
Jennifer Holmgren, CEO LanzaTech, said: “The leadership and commitment of governments and large companies like ArcelorMittal is 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.”