This is a step towards full commissioning of the Steelanol plant

ArcelorMittal Steel Corporation has announced the commercial production of ethanol at its Steelanol plant in Ghent, Belgium, which is Europe’s first carbon capture and utilization (CCU) project. This is stated in the company’s message.

This goal was achieved on November 7, 2023.

«The first industrial-scale production is a significant step in the journey to the full commissioning of the Steelanol plant. Throughout the project, ArcelorMittal has worked with its partners LanzaTech, Primetals Technologies and E4tech (now ERM),» the statement said.

The Steelanol plant captures industrial gases generated during steel production at ArcelorMittal Gent and biologically converts them into ethanol using the LanzaTech carbon biorecycling process.

«LanzaTech’s technology works like a brewery, but instead of yeast consuming sugar, proprietary bacteria known as a biocatalyst consume carbon gas and convert it into essential chemical building blocks such as ethanol,» the company explains.

The plant was opened in December last year, after which cold commissioning was carried out. Subsequently, a biocatalyst was introduced into the plant to start the growth of microorganisms and test the production of new molecules.

In June 2023, ArcelorMittal and LanzaTech Global announced that the first samples containing ethanol were produced from the flagship unit.

Over the past few weeks, gases from the blast furnace have been safely introduced into bioreactors, after which the first commercial batch of ethanol was produced on November 7.

The Steelanol plant has an annual capacity to produce 80 million liters of ethanol, which is about half of the total current demand in Belgium. The project cost is €200 million. Its operation is expected to reduce carbon emissions from the Ghent plant by 125 thousand tons per year. The resulting ethanol can be used to produce a variety of chemicals, including transportation fuels, paints, plastics, clothing, and even perfumes, thus helping to support efforts to decarbonize the chemical sector.

Steelanol is expected to reach full production capacity by the end of this year.

The financing of the commercial installation of Steelanol was received from various sources, including the Flemish government, the Belgian federal government and the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the relevant grant agreement. Part of the financing was also provided by a loan from the European Investment Bank.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in July 2023 ArcelorMittal through the innovation fund XCarb launched the program to finance and support decarbonisation projects in India.