ArcelorMittal and LanzaTech Produce First Ethanol from Ghent CCU Facility

At a glance
  • The €200 million Steelanol facility in Ghent aims to produce 80 million liters of ethanol annually.
  • The facility captures carbon-rich waste gases from steelmaking and converts them into ethanol.
  • The project partners include Primetals Technologies, E4tech, and CINEA, with funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 program.
  • The facility expects to reduce carbon emissions by 125,000 tonnes annually, supporting the EU's 2030 Climate Target Plan.

Introduction

ArcelorMittal and LanzaTech have commenced production at their €200 million Steelanol carbon capture and utilization (CCU) facility in Ghent, Belgium. This facility is the first of its kind in the European steel industry, utilizing LanzaTech's carbon recycling technology.

Technology and Process

The Steelanol facility captures carbon-rich waste gases from steelmaking and biologically converts them into ethanol using LanzaTech’s bio-based process. Unlike traditional fermentation, this process ferments gases instead of sugars and uses a biocatalyst instead of yeast. The facility was inaugurated in December 2022, with cold commissioning following shortly after.

Production Milestones

In May 2023, the first gases from the steel mill’s blast furnace were introduced to LanzaTech’s biocatalyst, leading to the production of initial ethanol samples. Commercial-scale ethanol production is expected to ramp up in the coming months. The facility aims to produce 80 million liters of advanced ethanol annually, meeting around half of Belgium's current demand.

Environmental Impact

The Steelanol plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions from the Ghent plant by 125,000 tonnes annually. This contributes to the EU’s 2030 Climate Target Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by the end of the decade. The process also supports a circular economy by treating waste gases as raw materials, thus avoiding competition with food crops.

Funding and Partnerships

Project partners include Primetals Technologies and E4tech, with support from the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). Funding was obtained from the Flemish government, the Belgian federal government, and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, along with a loan from the European Investment Bank.