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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Carbon capture trial targets steel sector decarbonisation

9/11/2022

Inside Steel works Photo: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
ArcelorMittal steel plant – the hard-to-abate steelmaking industry is estimated to account for around 7–9% of global greenhouse gas emissions

Photo: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

A new collaboration is looking to identify ways in which to enhance carbon capture technologies in the hard-to-abate steelmaking industry.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHIENG), BHP and Mitsubishi Development are collaborating on a multi-year trial of MHIENG’s carbon capture technology with global steel and mining company ArcelorMittal. The companies will also conduct a feasibility and design study to support progress to full-scale deployment.
 

The agreement, which involves a trial at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Gent, Belgium, and another site in the US, brings together the expertise of the various partners in identifying ways to enhance carbon capture and utilisation and/or storage (CCUS) technologies in the hard-to-abate steelmaking industry. The sector is estimated to account for around 7–9% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
 

CCUS has the potential to be a key technology for reducing emissions from existing global blast furnaces, which are anticipated to remain a significant portion of steel production over coming decades. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates CCUS technology needs to apply to more than 53% of primary steel production by 2050, equivalent to 700mn t/y of CO2, under its Net Zero Emissions Scenario.
 

There are no full-scale operational CCUS facilities in blast furnace steelmaking operations at present, with only a limited number of small capacity pilots underway or in the planning phases globally. However, later this year ArcelorMittal Gent will commission its Steelanol project, a scale demonstration plant that will capture carbon-rich process gases from the blast furnace and convert them into ethanol.

 

To further understand how carbon capture technology can be incorporated into existing steel plants, ArcelorMittal is facilitating the trial at its 5mn t/y steel plant in Gent, Belgium, and at another location in North America, with MHIENG supplying its proprietary technology and supporting the engineering studies. BHP and Mitsubishi Development, as key suppliers of high-quality steelmaking raw materials to ArcelorMittal’s European operations, will fund the trial.

 

In Gent, the trial will have two phases. The first phase involves separating and capturing the CO2 top gas from the blast furnace at a rate of around 300 kg/d of CO2 – a technical challenge due to the differing levels of contaminants in the top gas. The second phase involves testing the separating and capture of CO2 from the offgases in the hot strip mill reheating furnace, which burns a mixture of industrial gases including coke gas, blast furnace gases and natural gas.

 

The project partners also plan to install a mobile test unit in one of ArcelorMittal’s North American direct reduced iron (DRI) plants, to test MHIENG’s technology in this steelmaking process.

 

Commenting on the news, ArcelorMittal Belgium’s Chief Executive Officer, Manfred Van Vlierberghe, says: ‘The decarbonisation of the steel industry is a huge challenge that we cannot solve alone. It is through pan-industry partnerships and collaboration that we will achieve ArcelorMittal’s climate goals of reducing CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030 in Europe, and by 30% by 2030 worldwide.’