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ArcelorMittal pioneers ethanol production from blast furnace gases

ArcelorMittal pioneers ethanol production from blast furnace gases
Photo courtesy of ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal, the global steel and mining giant, has achieved a significant milestone by initiating the first industrial-scale production of ethanol from blast furnace gases. This pioneering effort, commenced on November 7th, marks a new era in the utilisation of industrial by-products, contributing to global decarbonisation efforts.

The Ghent plant in Belgium, where this innovative process takes place, has successfully integrated bioreactors to convert gases from the blast furnace into ethanol. This process is not only a testament to ArcelorMittal’s commitment to sustainable practices but also a potential game-changer in the steel industry. The plant boasts the capacity to produce up to 80 million litres of advanced ethanol annually. This volume addresses almost half of Belgium’s current demand for advanced ethanol in fuel mixing, showcasing the project’s significant impact.

The ethanol produced at the Ghent facility serves as a versatile building block for various products. From sustainable transport fuels to packaging materials and even cosmetic perfumes, the applications are diverse, underlining the potential of this technology in reducing the carbon footprint of multiple industries.

ArcelorMittal’s journey in this groundbreaking project involved collaborations with several key partners. LanzaTech, Primetals Technologies, and E4Tech played pivotal roles, alongside financial support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and the European Investment Bank. The Flemish government also provided strategic environmental support through VLAIO, the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Enterprise.

LanzaTech, a notable partner in this venture, is renowned for its carbon recycling technology. This technology captures carbon-rich gases from energy-intensive industries, preventing their release into the atmosphere. LanzaTech’s collaboration with ArcelorMittal is a prime example of how industrial symbiosis can lead to environmental benefits.

Primetals Technologies, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, is another key collaborator, bringing its expertise in engineering and plant building to the table. E4tech, an international consultancy specialising in sustainable energy, has also contributed significantly to the project’s success.

ArcelorMittal’s initiative is not just a step towards sustainable steel production; it’s a leap towards a greener future. With revenues of USD79.8 billion in 2022 and operations in 60 countries, ArcelorMittal is not only leading the steel industry but also paving the way for a more sustainable world. This project exemplifies the company’s vision of producing smarter steels that benefit both people and the planet.