ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech, Primetals JV build Europe’s first commercial-scale biofuel plant
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ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech, Primetals JV to build Europe’s first commercial-scale biofuel plant

5:46 AM, 14th July 2015
ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech, Primetals JV to build Europe’s first commercial-scale biofuel plant
ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech, carbon recycling company and Primetals, technology provider to the iron and steel industry, said that they have agreed to construct Europe’s first-ever commercial scale production facility to create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process.

LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG: ArcelorMittal SA, LanzaTech Inc, the carbon recycling company, and Primetals Technologies Ltd, a technology and service provider to the iron and steel industry, said that they have entered into a letter of intent to construct Europe’s first-ever commercial scale production facility to create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process.

Construction of the €87 million flagship pilot project, which will be located at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Ghent, Belgium, is anticipated to commence later this year, with bioethanol production expected to start mid-2017. Construction will be in two phases, with phase one providing an initial capacity of 16,000 tonne of ethanol per annum by mid-2017 and phase two, which will be completed in 2018, bringing the total capacity to 47,000 tonne of ethanol per annum.

The resulting bioethanol can cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 80 per cent compared with conventional fossil fuels. It will predominantly be used in gasoline blending, but it can also be further processed into other products such as drop in jet fuel.

The 47,000 tonne ethanol/annum project, sufficient to fuel half a million cars with ethanol blended gasoline, will demonstrate the added value of recycling waste streams. Approximately 50 percent of the carbon used in the chemistry of steelmaking leaves the process as carbon monoxide. This waste gas stream is either flared or used to heat and power the steel mill. In either case, the carbon monoxide is combusted and the resulting CO2 is emitted. LanzaTech’s technology, however, recycles the waste gases and ferments them with a proprietary microbe to produce bioethanol. Every tonne of bioethanol produced, displaces 5.2 barrels of gasoline as well as reducing ArcelorMittal’s CO2 emissions by 2.3 tonne.

Once construction of the Ghent flagship plant is complete and the commercial viability of the project is proven, the intention is to construct further plants across ArcelorMittal’s operations. If scaled up to its full potential in Europe, the technology could enable the production of around 500,000 tonne of bioethanol a year.

“This partnership is an example of how we are looking at all potential opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions and support a transition to a lower carbon economy,” said Carl De Mare, vice president, innovation, ArcelorMittal.

“We are tremendously excited to announce this partnership and our first production facility in Europe at a time when it is abundantly clear that we need all solutions and the commitment of large corporations, cities and countries around the world, to help us stay within our 2 degree carbon budget and keep fossil reserves in the ground,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LanzaTech.

As the production of bioethanol is a new activity, ArcelorMittal intends to set up a dedicated company for the roll out of this technology with strategic financial partners. A total of €10.2 million has been secured under the EU’s 2020 Horizon programme for research and development and talks are currently taking place with potential equity and debt partners.

Primetals Technologies will be responsible for part of the engineering, automation, key equipment and commissioning. “Once in operation, this leap-frog project will become a game changer within the industry and a benchmark for low-carbon footprint steelmaking,” said Karl Purkarthofer, senior vice president, Primetals Technologies.

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