€87m Facility To Turn Waste Steelmaking Gases Into Biofuel

13-07-15-Arcelor-steelArcelorMittal, LanzaTech and Primetals Technologies have announced a partnership to construct an €87m biofuel production facility that will create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process.

ArcelorMittal – a steel and mining company; LanzaTech – a carbon recycling company; and Primetals Technologies – a technology and service provider to the iron and steel industry, have entered into a letter of intent to construct Europe’s first-ever commercial scale production facility to create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process. This will predominantly be used in gasoline blending, but it can also be further processed into other products, such as drop in jet fuel, the companies have said.

The 47,000 tonnes of ethanol per annum project, sufficient to fuel half a million cars with ethanol blended gasoline, will demonstrate the added value of recycling waste streams, not only by reducing emissions at source but by keeping fossil fuels in the ground through the production of commodity chemicals and fuels that would otherwise be made from oil.

Approximately 50 percent of the carbon used in the chemistry of steelmaking leaves the process as carbon monoxide. At present this is either flared or used to heat and power the steel mill. In either case, the carbon monoxide is combusted and the resulting CO2 is emitted. LanzaTech’s technology, however, will allow the waste gases to be recycled, and ferments them with a proprietary microbe to produce bioethanol. Every ton of bioethanol produced, displaces 5.2 barrels of gasoline as well as reducing ArcelorMittal’s CO2 emissions by 2.3 tonnes.

The €87m pilot project will be located at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Ghent, Belgium, and is anticipated to commence later this year, with bioethanol production expected to start mid-2017. Construction will be in two phases, with phase one providing an initial capacity of 16,000 tonnes of ethanol per annum by mid-2017 and phase two, which will be completed in 2018, bringing the total capacity to 47,000 tons of ethanol per annum.

As the production of bioethanol is a new activity, ArcelorMittal intends to set up a dedicated company for the roll out of this technology with strategic financial partners. Financing will be sought from a number of different sources. A total of €10.2m has been secured under the EU’s 2020 Horizon programme for research and development and talks are currently taking place with potential equity and debt partners.

Primetals Technologies will be responsible for part of the engineering, automation, key equipment and commissioning.

“We are excited to be a partner in this leap-frog project with LanzaTech and ArcelorMittal. Once in operation, it will become a game changer within the industry and a benchmark for low-carbon footprint steelmaking”, said Karl Purkarthofer, Senior Vice President of Primetals Technologies.

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