December 2023


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ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Online client newsletter | December 2023

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Helping the world decarbonise

Pedro Prendes,
Head of Process Development at ArcelorMittal Global R&D

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ArcelorMittal has set itself the goal of achieving net-zero steelmaking by 2050. Achieving this goal requires ArcelorMittal to take bold and innovative initiatives which will decarbonise our operations in stages. Our decarbonisation strategy has three main levers:

  • Increasing the use of scrap in our processes (Circular steel)
  • Replacing blast furnaces with Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) plants equipped with electric arc furnaces (EAFs) to melt DRI
  • Utilising circular carbon, renewable electricity, and carbon capture storage and utilisation (Smart Carbon steelmaking).

John Cockerill’s CEO François Michel and ArcelorMittal’s EVP, corporate business optimisation, Brad Davey holding an iron plate made via our Volteron direct electrolysis process at the signing ceremony.

One of the latest initiatives in that strategy is the signing of the Volteron™ agreement between ArcelorMittal and John Cockerill. This project will see the two companies define an industrial-scale facility to refine iron ore through electrolysis using renewable electricity.

Volteron™ builds on the Siderwin project which was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme and involved multiple partners including ArcelorMittal and John Cockerill. The project successfully identified suitable technologies to extract iron from ore using electrolysis. Siderwin’s findings were published in March 2023 and have inspired ArcelorMittal and John Cockerill to explore how the technology can be practically implemented.

Using electrolysis to extract pure iron from iron ore has significant advantages over current methods such as direct reduction. The most important is the reduction in carbon emissions. Almost all CO2 emissions are eliminated from the process if renewable electricity is used. This will have a dramatic impact on emissions from steel production and put ArcelorMittal on track to achieve our 2050 objective.

The electrolysis process in a nutshell.

As part of Volteron™, John Cockerill and ArcelorMittal will work together to define an industrial-scale electrolysis plant. A decision on whether to build the plant will be taken by ArcelorMittal’s Investment Allocation Committee by the end of 2025. ArcelorMittal hopes to have the first plant fully operational by 2030.

ArcelorMittal has also invested in Boston Metal – a promising start-up which aims to develop and commercialise a patented process which uses renewable electricity to produce molten steel through a direct, one-step operation. ArcelorMittal invested US$36 million in the venture using funds from our XCarb® Innovation Fund.

Volteron™ and Boston Metal are using different technologies to achieve the same outcome. The technologies are complementary. Volteron™ uses hematite iron ore as its raw material while Boston Metal can process a wider range of ore types. ArcelorMittal is confident that the global market is big enough to accommodate both.

Pedro Prendes,
Head of Process Development at ArcelorMittal Global R&D

Our aim is to be a decarbonisation leader and help the world to decarbonise.
We believe that using electrolysis and renewable electricity to extract iron can bring us much closer to this goal and help ArcelorMittal achieve our goal of net-zero steelmaking by 2050.

To read more on Volteron™
Click here

To read more on Boston Metal
Click here

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