ArcelorMittal announced that it has signed a letter of intent with the Governments of Belgium and Flanders, supporting a €1.1bn project to build a 2.5 million-tonne direct reduced iron (DRI) plant at its site in Gent, as well as two new electric furnaces.
A DRI plant uses natural gas, and potentially hydrogen, instead of coal to reduce iron ore, resulting in a large reduction in CO2 emissions compared with blast furnace ironmaking. The two electric furnaces will melt the DRI and scrap steel, which will then be transformed in the steel shop into steel slabs and then further processed into finished products.
Once the DRI and electric furnaces are built, there will be a transition period during which production will move gradually from blast furnace A, to the DRI and electric furnaces, after which blast furnace A will be closed as it reaches the end of its life. By 2030, this will result in a reduction of around three million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.