ArcelorMittal And LanzaTech Announce First Ethanol Samples From ‘Steelanol’ Facility 

ArcelorMittal And LanzaTech Announce First Ethanol Samples From 'Steelanol' Facility - Carbon Herald
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Multinational steelmaker ArcelorMittal and carbon recycling company LanzaTech announced on June 14 the first ethanol samples at ArcelorMittal’s CO2 capture and utilization site in Ghent, Belgium. The $200 million facility, which was inaugurated at the end of last year, is the first of its kind for the European steel sector and deploys LanzaTech’s CO2 utilization technology. 

The ethanol samples mark progress toward full commercial-scale operation of the site that will capture CO2-rich waste gases from steelmaking and turn them into advanced ethanol using LanzaTech’s bio-based technology. In contrast to conventional fermentation, this process ferments gases rather than sugars and employs a biocatalyst instead of yeast. The biocatalyst has recently been introduced to the facility, a step known as inoculation, to initiate growth and validate the production of new molecules.

Last month, the first gases from the steel plant’s blast furnace were introduced to the biocatalyst. Following the successful inoculation, the first samples that contained ethanol were produced this week to demonstrate that the CO2 in gases is being turned into chemical products. What will follow is the commercial-scale production of ethanol and an expected increase in production in the upcoming months. 

The ethanol, which will be jointly marketed by ArcelorMittal and LanzaTech as Carbalyst®, can be used to produce different products such as sustainable transportation fuels, materials for packaging, and fragrances.

Relevant: ArcelorMittal Invests $30M In LanzaTech 

The plant has the capacity to produce 80 million liters of advanced ethanol per year or about half the total current demand in Belgium. The site is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 125,000 metric tons per year, and in this way advance the EU’s Climate Target Plan by 55% by 2030. Primetals Technologies and E4tech are partners on the project, and INEA, the European Climate, and the Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency support the initiative. 

“This is a momentous occasion. ArcelorMittal has long been a leader in the decarbonization of the steel industry, and today we are delighted to announce the first product samples from the Steelanol plant,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO LanzaTech. “To many people, using CCU [carbon capture and utilization] to capture emissions to make everyday products seems like science fiction, but we have shown the world what is possible at an industrial scale today.”

The “Steelanol” facility got funding from various sources, including the Flemish government, the Belgian federal government, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, and a loan from the European Investment Bank.

The Steelanol site is expected to reach full operational capacity before the end of 2023. 

Read more: ArcelorMittal Inaugurates Flagship $211M Carbon Capture Project

1 comment
  1. This process takes the CO_2 from the steel plant and make ethanol out of it. They put the ethanol into various fuels, It cannot be the only component because ICEs and jets cannot run on pure ethanol – at least not without major changes to the engines. It gets burned and the exhaust goes into the atmosphere. The cosmetics and other products are almost certainly minor compared to the fuels.

    So, the only way that emission is reduced is that each carbon atom gets used twice. We need to do better than a factor of 2. There are about 1000 gigatonnes (Gt) of human CO_2 in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution, We emit about 40 Gt per year; reducing this to near zero requires orders of magnitude reduction, not only 50%.

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