ArcelorMittal starts using bio-coal converted from wood in Ghent blast furnace

ArcelorMittal has commissioned its Torero plant converting waste wood into bio-coal for use in the blast furnace at its Ghent steelmaking site, the company said Dec. 20.

The first bio-coal made in the Torero plant, through a process called torrefaction, was used in a blast furnace in Ghent Dec. 18 for the first time.

According to ArcelorMittal, the project will reduce annual carbon emissions from the plant by 112,500 mt, reducing the use of fossil coal in the blast furnace.

The Torero plant was expected to convert 88,000 mt of waste wood into 37,500 mt of bio-coal annually.

The produced bio-gas during the blast furnace process is being transformed into ethanol. The ethanol can then be used as a building block to produce a variety of chemical products.

The European Commission approved Eur280 million ($308 million) under EU State aid rules in June to support ArcelorMittal Belgium partially decarbonizing its steel production in Ghent, where it operates two blast furnaces.

The aid, which will take the form of a direct grant and a soft loan, will support the construction of a direct reduction iron plant and of a new electric arc furnace that will substitute one of the two existing blast furnaces.

Natural gas, initially used in the energy mix, will be gradually phased out with the plant that will ultimately be operated using renewable hydrogen.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed North European hot-rolled coil at Eur690/mt EXW Ruhr Dec. 19, up Eur30/mt month on month. The carbon-accounted steel premium for lower carbon emission hot-rolled coil produced in Europe was assessed at Eur110/mt, up Eur10/mt on the month.

Author Laura Varriale