ArcelorMittal Europe to produce ’green steel’ starting in 2020

ArcelorMittal Europe announced on 13 october the details of the CO2 technology strategy that will enable it to offer its first green steel solutions to customers this year (30,000 tonnes), scale up this offering in coming years (to reach 120,000 tonnes in 2021 and 600,000 tonnes by 2022), deliver its 30% CO2 emissions target by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050. The strategy is centred around two main technology routes, as introduced in the first ArcelorMittal Europe climate action report published earlier this year:

  • The use of hydrogen in DRI-EAF and, also, the blast furnace
  • The expansion of its Smart Carbon route, also utilising hydrogen

Hydrogen

Hydrogen plays a central role in the company’s decarbonisation strategy.  ArcelorMittal Europe is developing a series of industrial-scale hydrogen projects for use in blast furnace-based steelmaking that will start to deliver substantial CO2 emissions savings even within the next five years, as well as progressing a project to test the ability of hydrogen to reduce iron ore and form DRI on an industrial scale.

Ultimately to reach zero, this hydrogen will need to be ‘green’ (produced via electrolysis which is powered by renewable electricity). ArcelorMittal is therefore developing new facilities to produce green hydrogen using electrolysers.  Teams at ArcelorMittal Bremen in Germany are working on the first large-scale deployment of this technology which can then be deployed in both the blast furnace and the DRI-EAF route.  Previously, this emerging technology has only been tested at small pilot plants in Europe.

1. Hydrogen and the blast furnace 

  • ArcelorMittal Bremen

By installing an electrolyser, hydrogen can be produced and injected in large volumes into the blast furnace tuyeres. The project will reduce the volumes of coal needed in the iron ore reduction process, thereby cutting CO2 emissions.

  • IGAR in Dunkirk

At ArcelorMittal Dunkirk, the company is developing a hybrid blast furnace process, which involves using DRI gas injection technology in the blast furnace shaft as well as using gas injection in the blast furnace tuyeres, using plasma technology to create a reducing gas.  This is the first large-scale implementation of what is essentially a hybrid BF/DRI technology.  In due course it will enable green hydrogen to be injected into the blast furnace as it becomes available.

  • Blast furnace injection across Flat Products sites

ArcelorMittal Europe is also implementing projects in almost all its Flat Products sites to use gases from different sources for blast furnace injection. Injecting hydrogen-rich coke oven gas is an efficient, cost effective method that allows steelmakers to reduce CO2 emissions now. ArcelorMittal Asturias has the most advanced coke oven gas project, with injection of grey hydrogen (hydrogen that has been recovered from gases including natural gas and coke oven gas) due to start in early 2021.

2. Hydrogen and DRI-EAF

  • Testing hydrogen to reduce iron ore and form DRI, at ArcelorMittal Hamburg

ArcelorMittal Europe owns Europe’s only DRI-EAF facility in Hamburg, where a project is planned to test the ability of hydrogen to reduce iron ore and form DRI on an industrial scale, as well as testing carbon-free DRI in the EAF steelmaking process.

  • Large-scale DRI plant being studied for Dunkirk

At ArcelorMittal Dunkirk a study has been launched to build a large-scale DRI plant, combined with an electric arc furnace. Initially, the DRI installation would use natural gas but ArcelorMittal’s unique experience in DRI production, together with the results of the DRI-hydrogen project in Hamburg mean the DRI installation will be fully ‘hydrogen-ready’.

Smart Carbon with Hydrogen 

  • Second Carbalyst plant planned, in Fos-sur-Mer; further CO2 cuts with large electrolyser for hydrogen injection

ArcelorMittal is also planning to expand its use of the Smart Carbon technology route. At ArcelorMittal Fos-sur-Mer, France, a study is underway in collaboration with partner Lanzatech, to build a second Carbalyst plant in addition to the one under construction at ArcelorMittal Ghent in Belgium. This involves carbon capture from the blast furnace waste gas, and biologically converting it into ethanol for use as a biofuel or recycled carbon feedstock for the chemical industry. In parallel with the company’s electrolyser project in Bremen, the Carbalyst plant in Fos-sur-Mer will boost CO2 savings through hydrogen injection, supplied by a large-scale electrolyser that will produce the hydrogen locally from renewable electricity.

First verified green steel for customers

The first impact of these decarbonisation efforts means ArcelorMittal Europe will be offering customers green steel products this year, when the first 30,000 tonnes will be ready.

A system that quantifies the CO2 emissions savings made thanks to the decarbonisation projects being rolled out by ArcelorMittal Europe has been developed. Customers will be able to buy green steel, based on verified emissions compared with a 2018 baseline.

Innovation Fund submissions

To fund the capital investment needed for the projects announced today, ArcelorMittal Europe is preparing funding applications to the EU’s Innovation Fund which is designed to support low-carbon investments in the European Union.

Aditya Mittal, President and CEO ArcelorMittal Europe, said: Today we are providing an important update on our progress in achieving our target of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, including the vital role that hydrogen has in our strategy.  Our talented teams across ArcelorMittal Europe are working hard to ensure our CO2 emissions reduction projects deliver results as fast as possible, on an industrial scale.  We are focussed on being ready for the hydrogen economy and the exciting opportunities this presents for us as European steelmakers. 

“In parallel we continue to roll out our Smart Carbon technology which we are convinced also offers huge potential given the world will need so-called BECCS technologies (bio-energy, carbon capture and storage) to reach net zero by 2050. 

“Our plans to offer greener and more circular steel will support our customers in their circular economy objectives. We are pleased to be able to offer our first green tonnes this year and look forward to being able to provide customers with larger volumes of this steel as our decarbonisation projects are ramped up and rolled out across Europe.

“We are in the process of applying for funding for various projects from the ETS Innovation Fund which we hope will be successful, giving us the vital access to finance that we need for these important projects. The success of these projects will also be secured through partnerships, and we would like to thank our partners for their hard work and willingness to co-develop the new technologies we need to make carbon-neutral steel.

ArcelorMittal Europe climate action report

In June 2020, ArcelorMittal Europe published its first climate action report which outlined the company’s strategy for reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

In the report the company identified two breakthrough carbon-neutral technology routes, Smart Carbon and innovative DRI based on hydrogen, that will help the company reach its CO2 reduction targets.

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