ArcelorMittal Gent to produce steel with Dutch biocoal

ArcelorMittal Gent to produce steel with Dutch biocoal

ArcelorMittal Gent is starting a pilot project to use biocoal in its steel production process as a high-quality partial replacement of fossil coal.

The biocoal is responsibly sourced from the Dutch company Perpetual Next, which produces the biocoal using its patented high-temperature torrefaction technology. The collaboration with ArcelorMittal in Ghent will start with an initial delivery of 30,000 tons of biocoal for the blast furnace in Ghent, which can be scaled up to 350,000 tons of biocoal on an annual basis.

Need for change


With the choice for biocoal, ArcelorMittal Gent says it is taking an important step in its decarbonisation process. Until now, fossil coal has been used for the production of steel, partly to extract iron from iron ore. Global steel production in 2020 was 1.86 billion tons of crude steel, 70% of which was produced in blast furnaces using fossil coal. Steel demand is expected to double from current levels by 2050, which could lead to a doubling of CO2 emissions if policy is not changed. According to ArcelorMittal, this underlines the need for change: 2.5 tons of CO2 are saved per ton of biocoal compared to the use of fossil coal.

Torrefaction


Perpetual Next’s torrefaction technology converts biomass from Forest Steward Council (FSC) certified forests into biocoal with the same properties as fossil coal. In this technology, the raw materials are converted into biocoal via a thermal refining process. This creates a relatively affordable renewable raw material with a high energy density. The patented technology is owned by Perpetual Next, which supplies high-quality coal from its own production facilities, as well as the technology, including the torrefaction reactors.

Manfred Van Vlierberghem, CEO ArcelorMittal Belgium, says that ArcelorMittal Belgium has the ambition to decarbonize its steel production faster and further than prescribed by the Paris Agreement. “We want to reduce not only our carbon footprint, but also our waste footprint – our steel company has a roadmap to zero carbon emissions and zero waste. We will do this step by step, responsibly. Partially replacing fossil coal with biocoal is one such step.”

The biocoal is responsibly sourced from the Dutch company Perpetual Next, which produces the biocoal using its patented high-temperature torrefaction technology. The collaboration with ArcelorMittal in Ghent will start with an initial delivery of 30,000 tons of biocoal for the blast furnace in Ghent, which can be scaled up to 350,000 tons of biocoal on an annual basis.

Need for change
With the choice for biocoal, ArcelorMittal Gent says it is taking an important step in its decarbonisation process. Until now, fossil coal has been used for the production of steel, partly to extract iron from iron ore. Global steel production in 2020 was 1.86 billion tons of crude steel, 70% of which was produced in blast furnaces using fossil coal. Steel demand is expected to double from current levels by 2050, which could lead to a doubling of CO2 emissions if policy is not changed. According to ArcelorMittal, this underlines the need for change: 2.5 tons of CO2 are saved per ton of biocoal compared to the use of fossil coal.

Torrefaction
Perpetual Next’s torrefaction technology converts biomass from Forest Steward Council (FSC) certified forests into biocoal with the same properties as fossil coal. In this technology, the raw materials are converted into biocoal via a thermal refining process. This creates a relatively affordable renewable raw material with a high energy density. The patented technology is owned by Perpetual Next, which supplies high-quality coal from its own production facilities, as well as the technology, including the torrefaction reactors.

Martijn van Rheenen, CEO Perpetual Next: “By applying our technology for ArcelorMittal Gent, we are opening up a new industry to help make it more sustainable. The biocoal has such high-quality properties that it offers a partial replacement for fossil coal in applications such as the production process of the steel industry. In addition to reducing ArcelorMittal’s own CO2 emissions, this move gives ArcelorMittal customers the opportunity to reduce their so-called scope 3 emissions, in line with the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ program as proposed by mid-July. Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner and Vice-President of the European Commission.”

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