ArcelorMittal Belgium has started the construction of two new groundbreaking facilities at the Ghent site to reduce carbon emissions. The two installations represent a total investment of 160 million euros and will avoid approximately 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year in the first phase. For the financing, innovation support was obtained from, among others, the European Union and the Flemish government.
First installation: Torero (TORefying wood with Ethanol as a Renewable Output)
The Torero plant will convert waste wood into biocarbon suitable for the blast furnaces process. ArcelorMittal will thus reduce the injection of fossil pulverized coal, which will in turn reduce the CO2 emissions. It also offers an alternative to the current incineration of the particularly difficult waste wood stream. In the early stage, the Torero plant will convert 120,000 ton of waste wood into around 50,000 tonnes of biocoal every year.
The technology of the torrefaction process has been developed by the company Torr-Coal, and the waste wood will be supplied by Renewi.
Second installation: Steelanol
Via the Steelanol plant, ArcelorMittal will transform the carbon-containing gases from the blast furnaces into bioethanol to be used as fuel for transportation or even for the production of synthetic materials. This will be the first industrial installation of its kind in Europe, producing 80 million litres of bioethanol annually.
The technology in the gas conversion process was pioneered by Chicago-based company, LanzaTech, with whom ArcelorMittal has entered a long-term partnership. The technology licensed by LanzaTech uses microbes that feed on carbon monoxide to produce bioethanol.
The application of this microbial gas conversion system significantly advances ArcelorMittal’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and utilization (CCU) capabilities and enhances steel’s role in the circular economy. ArcelorMittal’s long-term aspiration is to become a zero-waste business by further upscaling these innovations, with all materials used or generated during steel production recuperated, treated and reused in the production chain or becoming the raw materials for other industries. They do not want to limit themselves to reusing their own waste, but they can also play a role in the processing of waste from other sectors.
ArcelorMittal is working together with specialized partners in order to roll out this bioethanol technology. Funding was obtained from various sources, including the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, to carry out further research and development and scale up the project. The Flemish government also gave strategic ecological support via VLAIO, the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Enterprise.