ArcelorMittal Europe provided some 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 (Direct Reduced Iron - Electric Arc Furnace) and, also, the blast furnace
The expansion of its Smart Carbon route, also utilizing hydrogen
Hydrogen. Hydrogen plays a central role in the company’s decarbonization 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 electrolyzers. 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.
Hydrogen and the blast furnace. By installing an electrolyzer, 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.
At ArcelorMittal Dunkerque, 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 blast furnace/DRI technology. In due course it will enable green hydrogen to be injected into the blast furnace as it becomes available.
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 (Spain) 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.
Hydrogen and DRI-EAF. 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.
ArcelorMittal announced in September 2019 that it had commissioned technology provider Midrex Technologies to design a demonstration plant at its Hamburg site to produce steel with hydrogen.
At ArcelorMittal Dunkerque 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. 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 Gent (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 electrolyzer project in Bremen, the Carbalyst plant in Fos-sur-Mer will boost CO2 savings through hydrogen injection, supplied by a large-scale electrolyzer that will produce the hydrogen locally from renewable electricity.
First verified green steel for customers. The first impact of these decarbonization 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 due to the decarbonization 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.
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.