ArcelorMittal to test low-carbon steel in Kirchhoff-made auto parts

ArcelorMittal and Kirchhoff Automotive have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop low carbon-emissions steel for cars and trucks, the steel company said March 2.

The agreement will help expand the use of low carbon-emissions steel in highly engineered vehicle parts, ArcelorMittal Europe-Flat Products Vice President Yves Koeberlé said.

The agreement covers a project to test the use of ArcelorMittal’s Usibor1500 — a hot formed grade intended for use in automobile structural and safety components, which is made with recycled steel and 100% renewable electricity — in the high-strength parts that Kirchhoff Automotive supplies to original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, in Europe, Asia and North America.

Usibor1500 is part of ArcelorMittal’s XCarb brand, which is an umbrella term for reduced, low- and zero-carbon steels. The XCarb product family is set to expand as ArcelorMittal invests in the decarbonization of its steelmaking operations across Europe in line with its target to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

ArcelorMittal’s Europe Flat Products division began manufacturing XCarb recycled and renewably produced steel at its Sestao plant in Spain more than a year ago, marking a new chapter in flat rolled steel production, which allows customers to buy steel with a reduced carbon impact.

On a life cycle basis, Usibor1500 with XCarb substrate has a 70% lower CO2 footprint compared with the same product made via a conventional blast furnace production process, the steel company said.

“The future use of low carbon-emissions steel will enable us to make production significantly more sustainable, as 90% of our carbon footprint is currently determined by the use of conventionally produced steel and aluminium,” according to a statement by Kirchhoff Automotive CEO Wolfgang Kirchhoff.

Kirchhoff Automotive, through its 27 plants, is present in 11 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. It supplies metal and hybrid structures for the body-in-white stage of vehicle assembly and for chassis.

The company began determining the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain (Scope 3) last year, both upstream with suppliers and downstream with customers, and is addressing them partly through projects and partnerships like this one with ArcelorMittal.

— Ekaterina Bouckley