Turning carbon emissions from blast furnace gas into
bioethanol at ArcelorMittal Gent
The plant uses a naturally occurring bacteria which feeds on carbon monoxide (CO). “It’s a very energy efficient process as microbes do all the work,” says Wim Van der Stricht, coordinator of the project.
Wim Van der Stricht
“The challenge is to incorporate that natural process into a large-scale, well-established industry. And we’ve done that by innovating and working with partners such as LanzaTech and Primetals Technologies. We’ve also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.”
ArcelorMittal is partnering with specialist companies to realise Europe’s first bio-ethanol plant to use steelmaking gases
“This plant is a perfect example of the circular economy in action,” says Carl De Maré, vice president of Technology Strategy at ArcelorMittal. “A waste material from steelmaking is being converted into real-world products which are useful, valuable, and sustainable. This plant can produce enough fuel to power 100,000 vehicles using pure bioethanol for a year.”
Many existing bioethanol plants use agricultural products as a feedstock. Typically, this comes from crops such as sugar cane, wheat, and corn which take up land and resources which could be used for food production. “With our technology, we use recycled carbon, so there is no need to tie-up valuable arable land,” explains Wim Van der Stricht.
The process is relatively simple and sustainable
ArcelorMittal’s aim for this project is to show that it is possible to create a carbon-neutral steel industry, not just one that produces low levels of carbon dioxide notes Carl De Maré: “The circular economy is critical to achieve that carbon-neutral status, but ArcelorMittal can’t do it alone.
We need additional partners in this new value chain and to help close the loop, we want our customers to be a part of this innovative technology. I urge every customer that utilises bioethanol, or is active in recycling waste streams, to get in touch through the project’s website.”
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