The new trial expands the current multi-year carbon capture pilot
The new trial expands the current multi-year carbon capture pilot

CO2 recycling trials start at first steel plant

ArcelorMittal, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and climate tech company D-CRBN are trialling new technology to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) captured at ArcelorMittal’s plant in Gent, Belgium into carbon monoxide which can be used in steel and chemical production.

This new trial expands the current multi-year carbon capture pilot taking place at the site to test the feasibility of full-scale deployment of MHI’s carbon capture technology (Advanced KM CDR Process™).

Antwerp-based D-CRBN has developed a technology that uses plasma to convert CO2 into carbon monoxide. Using renewable electricity, the plasma is used to break the carbon-oxygen bond, thereby converting CO2 into carbon monoxide.

The carbon monoxide can be used as a reductant in the steelmaking process – replacing part of the coke or metallurgical coal used in the blast furnace – or as a basic ingredient in Gent’s Steelanol plant, for chemicals or alternative fuel production.

The D-CRBN process requires high-purity CO2, which can be provided by MHI’s carbon capture unit, currently being used to capture blast furnace off-gases, and off-gases from the hot strip mill reheating furnace, in Gent.

A pipeline between MHI’s carbon capture unit and D-CRBN’s unit was connected on July 1st, to test the feasibility of using the CO2 captured by the MHI technology as a feedstock for D-CRBN. The industrial pilot will make sure any impurities that accompany the CO2 produced during steelmaking do not have a detrimental effect on the process and product gas.

ArcelorMittal is pursuing a number of decarbonisation routes in order to achieve its climate targets, which include a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions from ArcelorMittal Europe, by 2030. One of these routes is Smart Carbon steelmaking, which uses circular carbon in the blast furnace, carbon capture and storage (CCS) or utilization (CCU).

Manfred Van Vlierberghe, CEO, ArcelorMittal Belgium, said, “We are proud to be part of this unique carbon capture and usage trial in Gent, which is part of our strategy to develop the Smart Carbon steelmaking route in ArcelorMittal Belgium. Our team of engineers has worked hard with our partners to reach this stage – and we are thrilled that our new partner, D-CRBN, have created this new CCU technology here in Belgium.”

Gill Scheltjens, CEO at D-CRBN, said, “Electrifying steel production is challenging, but D-CRBN’s process, which recycles CO2 emissions back into CO, offers a cost-effective and scalable solution.”

Its technology can electrify and decarbonise existing blast furnaces and significantly reduce their coal use. The conversion of CO2 back into CO for steel production will limit the need for green hydrogen in the future and reduce the costs of emission-free products. Some of the CO produced can be supplied to neighbouring chemical companies as feedstock.

MHI’s Senior Vice President (CCUS) of GX (Green Transformation) Solutions, Tatsuto Nagayasu, said, “CCUS will play a critical role in decarbonising existing assets in the steel industry.”

“Our collaboration with ArcelorMittal and D-CRBN in Belgium provides another tool for the industry to reduce its carbon footprint – capturing emissions, converting them into a valuable feedstock, and feeding them back into the process.”

ArcelorMittal is under scrutiny for allegedly misusing subsidies intended for green hydrogen and decarbonisation pledges while simultaneously delivering record returns to shareholders.

report by steel advocacy group, SteelWatch, has alleged ArcelorMittal is “failing in its claim” to be a climate change leader by spending just one-third ($500m) of the $1.5bn it pledged to invest into decarbonisation over the past three years.

Under the world’s second largest steelmaker’s “Innovative DRI” pathway it announced plans to transition its blast furnace plants to direct reduce iron (DRI) making processes using green hydrogen and/or electric arc furnaces (EAF) to clean up its operations (click here).

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