ArcelorMittal Ghent captures and converts CO2 for steel production

ArcelorMittal has started a pilot project at its Ghent plant to convert captured carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO) for reuse in the production process. For this, the steel giant is teaming up with D-CRBN, an Antwerp-based climate technology company that developed a plasma reactor that breaks down CO2 into CO and oxygen (02).

Back in May, ArcelorMittal Ghent started a pilot project to capture CO2 from the residual gases of the blast furnaces and the furnace of the hot strip mill. For this, the steel company uses a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) system. ArcelorMittal wants to convert that C02 into CO for steel production.

“Carbon monoxide can be used as a reducing agent in the steel production process – replacing some of the coke or metallurgical coal used in the blast furnace – or as a basic ingredient in the Steelanol plant in Ghent, for the production of chemical building blocks or alternative fuel,” ArcelorMittal explains.

World’s First

The steel giant is teaming up with D-CRBN, an Antwerp-based climate technology company, for this. A pipeline was installed between MHI’s capture unit and a D-CRBN unit. The feasibility of using the captured CO2—which must be very pure—as a raw material for the plasma reactor will be tested.

This is “the first industrial test of D-CRBN’s plasma technology,” says ArcelorMittal, making ArcelorMittal Ghent the first steel plant in the world to trial the process. The aim is to see that impurities associated with the CO2 produced during steelmaking have no harmful effect on the process and the gas produced.

“Electrifying steel production is challenging, but D-CRBN’s process, which recycles CO2 emissions into CO, offers a cost-effective and scalable solution,” says Gill Scheltjens, CEO of D-CRBN. “Our technology can electrify and decarbonize existing blast furnaces and significantly reduce coal consumption.”

With the help of public money

The steel industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, estimated to account for 7 to 9% of global CO2 emissions and significant air pollution.

According to the research site Disclose, ArcelorMittal has received at least 4.7 billion euros in European public aid to reduce its carbon emissions since 2008. In addition to Flanders, ArcelorMittal also receives money from Germany (1.3 billion euros) and France (850 million euros) for C02-saving measures in the factories in Dunkirk, Bremen, and Eisenhüttenstadt, respectively.

The company has committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030 and aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve the 2030 target, a total investment of 9,24 billion euros is required. Spicey detail: just between 2020 and 2022, ArcelorMittal paid its shareholders 8,9 billion euros, but the real use of European credits, and mainly the profits derived from carbon quotas, remains a well-kept secret.


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