Building the Future
We are living in an age of remarkable progress, where invention and human ingenuity are driving unprecedented advances in global development. Technology has a critical role in this transformation, but so do the materials that build our world.
As one of the only materials to be completely reusable and recyclable, steel will play a critical role in building the circular economy of the future. It will continue to evolve, becoming smarter, and increasingly sustainable. Join us as we take a look at ArcelorMittal’s environmentally conscious initiatives and ambitions for the future of steel.
The tech behind low-emissions steel-making
Steel has a critical role to play in helping society decarbonise. That’s why ArcelorMittal invests heavily in R&D, and has already developed the industry’s broadest and most flexible suite of low-emissions steelmaking technologies. These technologies fall under two pathways: Smart Carbon and Innovative Direct Reduced Iron (DRI), both of which hold the potential to deliver carbon-neutral steelmaking.
Lowering carbon in the steel-making process requires finding a potential replacement for coal. ArcelorMittal is experimenting with circular carbon sources like forestry residues, agricultural waste and even waste plastics. By making this change, the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would reduce as fossil coal would remain in the ground. The Smart Carbon route also integrates carbon capture and re-use (CCU) or storage (CCS) technologies, therefore potentially making the route carbon-negative. Torero is an industrial-scale demonstration plant that converts waste wood into renewable energy through a process called torrefaction. The demonstration plant, based at their steelworks in Ghent, Belgium, involves the construction of two reactors, each of which will produce 40,000 tonnes of bio-coal annually.
“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
Carbalyst, developed by ArcelorMittal’s partner LanzaTech, involves capturing carbon-rich waste gases emitted from the blast furnace during the steelmaking process and converting them into recycled carbon chemicals. ArcelorMittal’s first Carbalyst® project is at their steelworks in Ghent. The project not only reduces CO2 emissions at the plant by 125,000 tonnes per year but also results in the production of 80 million litres of bio-ethanol per year, which can be blended with traditional gasoline as a low-carbon alternative fuel for the transport sector.
The Innovative DRI pathway applies to the direct reduced iron (dRI) – electric arc furnace route (EAF). In addition to scrap, the other metallic input in EAFs is direct reduced iron (DRI). This is made through the direct reduction of iron ore using natural gas. The heart of ArcelorMittal’s Innovative DRI route involves replacing the natural gas (which acts as the reductant in the DRI process) with an alternate, clean energy source – hydrogen.
Fundamentally, the Innovative DRI pathway is aiming to create steelmaking that removes carbon in its entirety from the production process.
The Hamburg H2 project is designed to test the ability to replace the use of natural gas with hydrogen to reduce iron ore and form DRI on an industrial scale, as well as then testing how that carbon-free DRI reacts in an EAF. In the future, the plant will run on green hydrogen when it is available in sufficient quantities at affordable prices.
XCarb Innovation Fund
The XCarb innovation fund invests in companies developing breakthrough technologies that will accelerate the steel industry’s transition to carbon-neutral steelmaking. One of these investments is into Bill Gates’s Catalyst Program with Breakthrough Energy – aiming to quickly scale clean technologies.
ArcelorMittal is leading the decarbonisation of the steel industry
- Net zero by 2050
- Group-wide target to reduce CO2 emissions in.tensity by 25% by 2030 European target to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030
- Creating the world’s first zero-carbon emissions steel plant in Sestao, Spain, by 2025