- Since 1990 about 165 million € has been invested in measures to combat air pollution and to minimise noise nuisance. This counts for about 75% of total environmental investments.
- Dust emissions nowadays amount to only 10% of the dust emission levels in the late 1980’s.
- Particulate matter in ambient air has been a hot topic over the past few years, for authorities as well. The Gent canal area is one of Flanders’ hot spots and the air quality standards for suspended matter PM10 are not always met. A study revealed that diffuse emissions have the greatest impact on the ambient air in the vicinity of our company. To coordinate all measures to minimise the diffuse dust emissions and give priority to those with the highest yield, a long-range dust reduction plan has been drawn up. Some examples of these measures are:
Raising awareness of our staff in the harbour, raw materials & internal transport department through thorough sensitisation.
- In 2011, the room dust collecting facility in sinter plant 1 was optimised in order to be able to meet the dust ELV of 20 mg/Nm3.
- In 2010 a new grab crane was brought into use at the quay to unload raw materials from bulk carriers. The crane is equipped with a spill plate, windscreens with spray system and automatic grab mode with filling ratio control.
- In steel industry, sinter plants are the only major dioxin emission source. Dioxin emissions of the two sinter plants are at the level of 0,4 ng TEQ/Nm3, far below the current emission limit value of 2,5 ng TEQ/Nm3. Activated carbon is injected in the flue gases to adsorb the dioxins and subsequently the dioxins bound at the carbon are separated in the dust collecting unit. Furthermore a rigorous selection of recycled material to feed the sinter plants is in use to prevent the formation of dioxins. Dioxin emissions are monitored through an elaborate measurement programme.
All other types of emissions such as NOx, SO2 and dioxin emissions are monitored conscientiously through an elaborate measuring programme.
- Since 1990 about 21 million € has been invested in measures to maximise the level of water recycling and to minimise the pollution load of the water discharged. This counts for about 10% of total environmental investments.
- In 2011 our specific water consumption amounted to 4,9 m3 per ton of liquid steel. In terms of water consumption we are amongst the best performing integrated steelworks in the world.
- The Gent-Terneuzen canal is our main source of water. In 2011 about 20,5 million m3 of canal water were extracted and about 11,9 million m3 were discharged.
- This is possible due to a well-thought-out water distribution system all over the plant with a number of water treatment facilities, water towers and an extensive piping system.
- The water recycling concept of ArcelorMittal Gent is based upon the use of fresh canal water in counterflow to the production processes. Fresh water is used first in the cold rolling mills. After purification the same water is used again in the hot rolling mill and so on.
- Different kinds of water treatment systems are in use:
- One project that substantially contributed to the reduction of the pollution load of the discharged waste waters has been the coupling of the individual waste water treatment systems of the steel shop (slightly alkaline waste water) and the blast furnaces (slightly acidic waste water). This project also resulted in a decrease with 3 million m3 of discharged waste water
- We strive towards converting all used natural resources into products that are useful for society. For that reason we have operating procedures in place to meticulously collect all different residues.
- Large quantities of residues are reused internally, e.g. steel scrap, dust and sludge from flue gas treatment units, mill scales, oxides.
- Other residues can be contaminated by certain elements and can for process-technical or environmentally reasons not be reused internally. For these types of residues we look for external solutions in which recycling is given priority and disposal is avoided.
- In 2005 a new installation (investment of 5 million EUR) was built in the steel shop to convert LD slag into LD gravel. External applications of LD slag are limited because of the low volume stability due to the content of free lime in LD slag. Also market demand was dropping. By creating an additional production stage, in which the chemical composition of the melting flux is adapted in the liquid phase, an artificial stone can be produced that meets the product quality requirements of the building industry. In this new unit a silicon carrier (quartz sand) is brought in the melting flux at high temperature. The silicon binds to the free lime with the formation of lime silicates resulting in a much better volume stability of the product. The new product, LD gravel, can be used in road construction as an alternative to natural products such as porphyry. In this way ArcelorMittal Gent contributes to the safeguarding of natural resources.
- Although there’s no legal obligation some residual flows are also collected selectively for recycling purposes (e.g. clean and pure wood waste, plastic bottles, tin cans and carton packages).
Less than 4000 tons/year of industrial waste is to be disposed into a landfill
- The Flemish Regulations on Soil Decontamination forces us to periodically conduct soil investigations on all plots of land on which activities are carried out that can cause soil or groundwater contamination.
- For the purpose of these investigations a considerable quantity of groundwater monitoring wells is in place.
A lot of attention is paid that the necessary infrastructure exists to prevent soil or groundwater contamination in case of incidents. E.g. secondary containments and overflow detection for storage tanks, impermeable flooring, availability of absorbent granules and spill booms in all places with the risk of spilling.
- In 30 years’ time, we have succeeded in reducing our energy consumption per ton of steel produced by one third (25 GJ per ton of hot rolled coil in 1980 compared to 17 GJ in 2011).
- In September 2003, ArcelorMittal Gent signed the Benchmark covenant with the Flemish government, thus committing ourselves to be among the best performing steelworks in the world regarding energy consumption per ton of steel produced.
- Mid-2010 an important step forward was made by the commissioning of the BOF-gas recovery unit in the steel shop. This investment allowed us to reduce energy consumption by about 0,7 GJ per ton of liquid steel. This is a 4% cut in our company’s overall energy consumption.
- Also mid-2010 Electrabel (GDF Suez) commissioned a new power plant on our site to convert blast furnace gas and BOF-gas into electricity with an efficiency of over 40%.
- 74% of our CO2-emissions are inherent in the blast furnace process. There is only limited improvement potential to reduce those emissions. However, the better we control the coke and sinter quality, by choosing the most suited raw materials, the more we will increase carbon efficiency and the more we will reduce CO2-emissions of our blast furnaces.
- Other CO2-emissions mainly result from combustion processes. These can be reduced by increasing energy-efficiency of those processes.
In 2011, our global specific emissions amounted to 1,793 tons of CO2 per ton of liquid steel. Compared to other steelworks using the blast furnace route, this is a very good performance.
ArcelorMittal Gent’s premises cover an area of about 8,5 km2 of which half is a belt of rich woodland used as a buffer between our industrial activities and the surroundings. Over the years there has been continuous afforestation. You can mainly find native deciduous trees such as oak, birch, ash, poplar, black alder, willow and many others.
Together with the flora, a rich fauna has developed itself. Besides game such as rabbits and pheasants one can find hedgehogs, squirrels, herons, buzzards, toads, shelducks, black-headed gulls and many other rare and common types of birds.
ArcelorMittal Gent not only receives environmental awards, but it also awards prizes to meritorious students. Since 1995, every year ArcelorMittal Gent has presented environmental awards to the best theses that address environment-relevant issues in courses such as "Bio-engineering" and "Master of Science in Environmental Sanitation" at the University of Gent. ArcelorMittal Gent presents these environmental awards to stress the importance of environment-relevant research and wants to further encourage this kind of research in the future.