In Europe, probably almost everybody rides or has ridden bikes at some point in their lives. So, a news item about a new cycling and pedestrian bridge being built is nothing special in this part of the world. However, this one is definitely noteworthy. For Europe’s longest cycle bridge is being built in Luxembourg with ArcelorMittal’s XCarb recycled and renewably produced steel. The 1.2 km long bridge, connecting Esch-sur-Alzette with Esch-Belval, is being made with steel that is not just sustainable but designed to last as well. Creating a perfect mix of XCarb and Arcorox, a weathering steel grade, the bridge is a glowing example in achieving both carbon and safety targets for the future.
According to the steel giant’s recent press release, there is no need for a protective coating now or in the future, therefore, maintenance is low even though usage remains high. In a nutshell, the bridge meets all cost, design, strength requirements and on top of it, it is eco-friendly.
Many cities in Europe are adopting the European Union’s initiatives to increase bicycle use as a form of urban transportation. This approach is fully in line with the EU’s commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Understandably, the selection of steel, was the key factor for Giorgetti, the company in charge of the project for the Luxembourgish administration, to give their green signal.
ArcelorMittal’s XCarb has very low embodied carbon – approximately 300kg of CO2 per tonne of finished steel when made from 100% scrap and using renewable electricity.
The steel company has already provided the materials to the Italian company Cimolai, responsible for construction and carpentry work of the bridge that is expected to be completed this year.
“At Cimolai, as a global operator in design, supply and erection of complex steel structures, we have a role to play in decarbonising the construction market. By purchasing XCarb recycled and renewably produced beams, we could both follow our company’s vision of decarbonised construction works, and meet the needs of our customers who are also increasingly keen to do their bit to make our world more sustainable for the next generations,” Engineer Pierpaolo Rossetto, Order Manager of Cimolai, said in the aforementioned press release.
Interestingly, Luxembourg railways (CFL) also bought XCarb steel as part of their drive to decarbonise their infrastructure.
As climate change mitigation has become the most important challenge of the 21st century, it is a remarkable initiative from all the parties involved and this might just be the beginning. In a bid to fight climate change, 73% of Europeans anyway prefer bicycles over cars, as per a report from the European Commission on Environment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, we will read about more such projects and the use of low-carbon materials in construction would become a Norm.
What exactly is the XCarb initiative?
The XCarb initiative, launched by ArcelorMittal in March 2021, brings together all of the company’s reduced, low, and zero-carbon products and steelmaking activities. To produce XCarb recycled and renewably produced steel, ArcelorMittal uses up to 100% scrap and renewable electricity coming from renewable sources such as solar and wind power.
“We have an important role to play in helping society deliver the objectives of the Paris agreement and are determined to lead our industry’s transition to carbon neutral steel,” Aditya Mittal, CEO ArcelorMittal said at the time of the launch of XCarb.
What are green steel certificates?
The XCarb initiatives also include XCarb green steel certificates which are specifically designed for ArcelorMittal’s steel products made from iron ore in a blast furnace.
The green steel certificates allow customers to report an equivalent reduction in their Scope 3 emissions that are a consequence of project-based CO2 savings from iron ore reduction, by replacing fossil coal with alternative reductants or by carbon capture and utilisation.
These investments are resulting in significant CO2 savings, which the company adds up and then passes on to its customers in the form of a certificate, which is verified by an independent auditor. The green steel certificates will be available by the end of 2022.