ArcelorMittal restarts upgraded blast furnace B at Ghent, Belgium

ArcelorMittal has restarted its 2.3 million mt/year blast furnace B at Ghent in Belgium, which it said is now one of the most advanced blast furnaces in the world following upgrade work.

The BF was idled in September for relining and had been scheduled to restart by mid-February, but poor weather delayed the restart by two weeks, the company said March 3.

The restart means ArcelorMittal is now back to pre-COVID production levels, with furnaces that were idled in France, Spain, Germany and Italy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic all back online.

There are two blast furnaces at the Ghent site with a total capacity of 5 million mt/year of flat steel products.

The company noted that the Ghent relining project would make an important contribution to its commitments to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 compared with 2018 levels.

“ArcelorMittal Ghent plans to replace fossil carbon with green and circular carbon, and green and circular hydrogen. ‘Fresh’ raw materials will increasingly be replaced with waste products, in an environmentally and economically feasible way,” the company said.

“The Torero project, which will be commissioned in 2022, allows us to pre-treat waste wood from container parks to produce biocarbon suitable for the blast furnace process. We also have two projects running with plastic waste that could be injected into the blast furnaces in the form of powder or gas. We are also working on the possibility of replacing fossil carbon with hydrogen,” it added.

The company noted the support it had received from the Flemish government and added that for the steel industry’s transition to be successful, “supportive policy to ensure a global level playing field, access to renewable energy at affordable prices, energy infrastructure and access to sustainable finance” would be required.

— Annalisa Villa